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Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria says he "felt like death" while battling virus

ANAHEIM, Calif. — 3B Evan Longoria said he couldn't have felt worse, literally.

"I felt like death for about two days there," Longoria said Wednesday. "I feel 100 percent better today. I'm glad to wake up and feel like I did because it wasn't fun."

While most of the other Rays had just a nasty stomach flu, Longoria had it much worse, with a fever in excess of 102, a throat so sore "it was like a pile of red ants had sat in there all night," and enough other issues that he lost 7 pounds.

Longoria was out of the lineup for a third straight game Wednesday on "doctor's orders," primarily a concern over an increased risk of a muscle pull or other injury since he was dehydrated, feverish and weak. He did pinch-hit in the 10th, reaching on an infield single, and stayed in to play defense.

He said after the game he felt fine and expects to be back in the lineup Friday in Baltimore (where temperatures are expected to be in the 90s).

Longoria received IV fluids and antibiotics after seeing a local doctor, who also did a series of tests, including throat cultures.

Making it worse for Longoria is that he grew up near Angels Stadium and has a .413 career average there, and this is the Rays' only visit this season.

"It's very disappointing," he said, "but I've got to look at what's best for the team in the long run."

DRAFT BREEZE: The Rays completed their 60-player draft haul with 20 more picks Wednesday and, naturally, were pleased.

"I thought it went great, and I think the biggest thing we accomplished is exactly what we set out to accomplish: add a lot of really good prospects," scouting director R.J. Harrison said.

Top pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri continued to maintain his odd public silence, reportedly at the suggestion of his advisers in the face of rumors regarding makeup and maturity.

Harrison said the Rays have "had contact," and he expects to visit Guerrieri in South Carolina next week. They also have had talks with second pick, OF Mikie Mahtook (with special assistant Rocco Baldelli headed for a visit), and third choice, SS Jake Hager, who doesn't graduate high school until June 21. Some lower picks are already close to deals.

"That's the start of the process, we're very optimistic about a majority of those guys," Harrison said. "We're all anxious, and you want to get them out playing. But sometimes it takes a little bit more time than we would all like in an ideal situation."

TRAVEL TRAVAILS: The Rays were expected to land in Baltimore around 8:30 this morning and, after navigating rush-hour traffic, arrive at their hotel around 9:30.

The original trip was bad enough; making it worse was the Angels' decision to play a night game Wednesday, which also forced the Rays to bus nearly an hour to Los Angeles International Airport since there are curfews at closer airports. "Totally extreme," manager Joe Maddon said.

Also troubling is the Tigers' decision to make Monday's makeup a night game, meaning the Rays won't get home until around 4 a.m. June 14 as they host the Red Sox that night.

"Unbelievable," CF B.J. Upton said. "Unreal. … It's a wonderful schedule. I love it."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Jeff Niemann got knocked around a bit in his second rehab start, allowing four runs on seven hits in four innings for Triple-A Durham, throwing 68 pitches. Niemann, out since May 4 with a lower back strain, is scheduled for one more start with Durham and is in line to rejoin the Rays June 18. … INF Elliot Johnson, out since May 23 with a left knee sprain, plays the first of two rehab games tonight with Durham.

MISCELLANY: Rays starters have gone seven innings or more 31 times in 62 games. ... RHP Kyle Farnsworth converted his 13th save in 14 chances and lowered his ERA to 1.57. ... Maddon said LHP J.P. Howell has been given permission to return to his original unorthodox delivery; he was pitching in more traditional style post-surgery. … DH Johnny Damon reached base for the 34th straight game with an eighth-inning walk, three shy of Ben Grieve's 2001 team record. … Tuesday's game against the Red Sox has been picked up by the MLB Network.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Rays third-day draft picks

Pick Player Pos. School

31/960 Isaac Gil RHP Advanced Software

Analysis (N.Y.) JC

32/990 Ryan Turner RHP Tarleton St.

33/1020 Daniel Bream RHP Southern Arkansas

34/1050 Zach Butler RHP McNeese St.

35/1080 John Magliozzi RHP Dexter HS (Mass.)

36/1110 David Kubiak RHP Albany

37/1140 Tanner Poppe RHP Kansas

38/1170 Brandon Choate C Southern Arkansas

39/1200 Theron Geith LHP Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC

40/1230 Joe Perricone RHP Hersey HS (Ill.)

41/1260 Shay Crawford LHP Lee University

42/1290 Mike Bourdon C U. of Tampa

43/1320 Stayton Thomas RHP Texas

44/1350 Jordan Leyland 1B UC-Irvine

45/1380 Kevin Lusson C Texas

46/1410 Max Rossiter C Central Arizona JC

47/1440 Derek Vaughn RHP Texas Wesleyan

48/1470 Brandon Liebrandt LHP Marist School (Atlanta)

49/1500 Alan Baldwin C Kailua (Hawaii) HS

50/1529 Ian Tomkins C Abilene Christian U.

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria says he "felt like death" while battling virus 06/08/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 2:39am]
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