ST. PETERSBURG — Evan Longoria felt so much better Sunday that manager Joe Maddon said putting the third baseman on the disabled list may no longer be a necessary option.
Longoria, who left Friday's game after irritating the plantar fasciitis problem in his right foot, might be available at least to pinch-hit as soon as tonight, and he could return to full duty soon.
"He actually felt pretty good (Sunday)," Maddon said. "It's kind of encouraging. A lot of the pain was different. It wasn't nearly as severe, so we'll see. We might be able to use him in Houston like we had thought."
The Rays would seemingly have to decide by midday Tuesday whether to place Longoria on the 15-day DL as they have to make room on the roster to activate LHP David Price. Ryan Roberts was called up Saturday to provide infield depth.
Asked if the disabled list, which could keep Longoria out through the All-Star break, was still an option, Maddon said: "As of right now I don't think so because he's making some progress. It's possible, but I don't know. He's just feeling better (Sunday)."
Longoria was not available for comment after Sunday's game.
GOOD JEREMY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson matched the franchise record shared by LHP Scott Kazmir (May 2008), Price (June 2012) and LHP Matt Moore (April 2013) with five wins in June. And that after a 1-0 mark and 6.69 ERA in May.
Hellickson said there's nothing he specifically changed. "I was just giving up a really big inning every time out it felt like," he said. "And I don't really know, right now I'm just making a big pitch when I need to and getting a lot of help out there."
GOOD JAKE: LHP Jake McGee had made 150 appearances over four big-league seasons, but Sunday was the first time he came in with the bases loaded and no outs. And after he got the Tigers' Bryan Holaday to fly out, Austin Jackson to ground into a third-to-home forceout and Torii Hunter to fly out, they were still loaded. "Unbelievable," Hellickson said. "To get out of that was pretty amazing."
NUMBERS GAME: The Rays play their last 14 games before the All-Star break against three of the AL's worst teams, starting tonight in Houston with a four-game series against the Astros. Then the Rays host the White Sox, Twins and Astros. All that after a stretch of 24 of 28 against teams that were above .500 at the time. … The series win was the Rays' first against the Tigers since 2010. … The Rays were held to four or fewer runs by the Tigers for the 18th straight game, their longest such streak of futility.
MISCELLANY: C Jose Lobaton, in a 1-for-14 skid, had three hits, matching his career high, and knocked in two runs. … 1B James Loney extended his hitting streak to 11 games. … Former Rays star 1B Carlos Peña will miss tonight's series opener against his old team due to a death in the family but will be back Tuesday, the Astros said. … Detroit's Miguel Cabrera joined Tampa native Luis Gonzalez, with the Dodgers in 2007, as the only players to hit balls into the touch tank at the Trop. … RHP Alex Cobb, still recovering from the June 15 line drive that struck his head, will continue light workouts this week. … DH Luke Scott on Saturday became the first player, according to Elias, to hit a tying or go-ahead homer off Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the eighth inning or later.