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Tampa Bay Rays, Evan Longoria opt for caution as third baseman misses All-Star Game with infected finger

Evan Longoria, who sat out the All-Star Game with an infected finger, says he expects to be ready when the season resumes Friday.

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Evan Longoria, who sat out the All-Star Game with an infected finger, says he expects to be ready when the season resumes Friday.

ST. LOUIS — Though 3B Evan Longoria was disappointed, the decision to skip the All-Star Game, made in consultation with manager Joe Maddon, was best for both of their teams.

The AL All-Star team was kept at full strength with Los Angeles' Chone Figgins added, and the Rays expect to have Longoria fully over his right ring finger infection when they resume play Friday in Kansas City.

"Obviously, me and Joe went back and forth on what to do," Longoria said. "Being here and being with the American League club, it would be a disservice to them to go out there and try to play and win a game when I'm not up to full health. … I was okay with it. I think we need a good team here. Obviously, priority one is the Rays and being healthy for Friday's game."

Longoria said the odds are "95 percent" he'll be ready by then, and he "should not miss any regular-season games." He said he doesn't need additional treatment and still plans to fly to Los Angeles to attend tonight's taping of the ESPY awards.

Though Longoria said the infection was "one of those weird things" and there was "really nothing" he could have done to avoid it, it did sound as if he might have been able to get it treated sooner if not for bravado.

He said the fingertip had been sore for two days "but obviously I'm not going to go to the training staff and say, 'Hey, my fingertip is sore.' " As a result, Longoria said, "It just kind of progressed from there; I've got a couple of swollen spots on my arm which kind of alarmed me that something else was going on, so I had it checked out and obviously just pump antibiotics in and let the infection go away."

Maddon said he was hopeful the infection would clear up quickly, but they ran out of time because MLB officials wanted an answer by 9 a.m. Tuesday to have time to arrange a replacement, with Figgins (from Brandon High) joining the team and Texas' Michael Young going into the lineup.

This is the second time a Ray has been voted an All-Star starter and didn't get to play due to injury; DH Jose Canseco sidelined by a back injury in 1999.

Longoria was "represented" in the game as RHP Roy Halladay — who unexpectedly got to hit in the second — used his batting helmet, though with the Rays logo removed.

POLITICKING: A jeans-wearing President Barack Obama wore his White Sox jacket to throw out the first pitch, but during his pregame visit to the clubhouse (where he shook hands with every player), Maddon had hoped to convert him to Rays gear. "I wish I had one of my 9=8 shirts from last year; I would have given him one of those," he said. "Maybe we'll send him a gift afterward."

TRAVELING MEN: Maddon, the coaches, staff and Ben Zobrist will travel about four hours by bus this afternoon to Kansas City, but the other players have other plans.

LF Carl Crawford is also going to L.A. for the ESPY awards. 1B Carlos Peña is flying to Orlando with his wife and daughter to spend today at their home before taking the team flight to Kansas City on Thursday. SS Jason Bartlett was hoping to get a flight to Kansas City to avoid the bus ride with his 1-year-old son. He also has to get treatment on his left ankle.

OOPS AWARD: George Hendrick played 6½ seasons and was a two-time All-Star in St. Louis, but when the Rays/AL coaches were introduced after the top of the first, his named was spelled HINDRICH on the stadium board. And third-base coach Tom Foley was FOLLEY.

MISCELLANY: It was the AL's fourth straight one-run win. … The game took just 2:31, shortest since 1988. … The five total strikeouts were the fewest since 1962. … AL pitchers retired 18 in a row in one stretch. … Missouri native Sheryl Crow sang the anthem. … Cardinals Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Bob Gibson were introduced, then joined by living legend Stan Musial. … Obama's pitch reached the plate on a fly.

Tampa Bay Rays, Evan Longoria opt for caution as third baseman misses All-Star Game with infected finger 07/14/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 6:55am]
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