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Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria struck by a pitch, bruises hand

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays got their first scare of the spring Thursday as 3B Evan Longoria was hit on the right hand by a pitch from RHP Matt Bush during an intrasquad game.

X-rays on the hand were negative. Longoria said it was just a bruise and hopes to resume normal workouts today.

Manager Joe Maddon said the ball hit the "fatty part of the hand" and added he was not concerned.

"The hand is always a necessity in this game, and it's a fragile part," Longoria said. "But I think it's okay. It feels good right now. We've got the best training staff in the game, just keep up with it and be back out there (today)."

That was encouraging news to Bush, a hard-throwing reliever who had been impressing all camp. Bush said he was trying to throw a fastball away, and "it just got away from me."

"Obviously that's the last thing I want to do right now," Bush said. "But we hugged it out, and (Maddon) and (Longoria), they both said the same thing: 'It's baseball.' "

Longoria said he is sore but will take it day by day. "At this point, we just need to get the swelling out of there," he said.

PITCHING IN: Maddon has said RHP Josh Lueke, acquired from the Mariners in the offseason, has an excellent split-finger pitch, which is "unusual for today's pitcher."

Maddon liked what he saw from Lueke in the intrasquad game: a scoreless inning that included using his split to strike out CF B.J. Upton looking.

"It hung," Lueke said, smiling. "Luckily he didn't tee off on it."

Said Maddon: "He's got good stuff, a swing-and-miss kind of guy in our division with strike-throwing ability. It's kind of an interesting combination."

MOORE MATTERS: LHP Matt Moore (lower abdominal strain) was limited to playing catch from 100 feet Thursday, but everything went well, and Maddon hopes baseball's top prospect can throw off a mound by early next week.

Moore, who suffered the minor injury last Friday, has had to miss two scheduled live batting practice sessions, but he said he's feeling better and not worried he is falling behind.

"We have four weeks of camp left," Moore said. "We have plenty of time."

SLOW DOWN: Maddon said the Rays are going to take it easy with DH Luke Scott, 1B Carlos Peña and OF Sam Fuld, all of whom won't play in exhibitions until next week. Scott, coming off shoulder surgery, likely won't appear until midweek. Fuld had a wrist injury last year, but Peña is healthy, with Maddon saying it's a "veteran" kind of treatment.

WEB TALK: Maddon praised the defense of INF Elliot Johnson, who made several nice plays at third base. "It's probably his least-favorite position, so it's nice to see him move around like he did," Maddon said.

MISCELLANY: Maddon was impressed with the execution and effort during the four-inning intrasquad game, calling it "crisp." … SS Reid Brignac hit a solo homer, and 1B Matt Mangini added an RBI groundout. … RHP Alex Cobb, in his first appearance since August surgery to remove a blood clot, threw a perfect inning, including two strikeouts. … LHP Cesar Ramos struck out two in a scoreless first.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

Third baseman Evan Longoria has his hand examined after taking a pitch on the hand. X-rays were negative.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Third baseman Evan Longoria has his hand examined after taking a pitch on the hand. X-rays were negative.

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria struck by a pitch, bruises hand 03/01/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 9:40pm]
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