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Rays' Longoria says legs felt tired early in season

The Rays’ Evan Longoria holds on to second base after hitting a double in the ninth inning, extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games.
Published May 23, 2013

TORONTO — As remarkably well as 3B Evan Longoria has played thus far, he said early on his legs felt so tired he worried if he could make it through a full season.

"I felt pretty bad after the first week of the season, like 10 games in. I was kind of scared," Longoria said. "Because in spring training, you probably don't play three-four games in a row at the most toward the end of spring. Once we got like a week, 10 days into the season, I was feeling like, man, my legs were tired. And thoughts started to creep in about how you're going to do it for 162 days."

Longoria, who has a history of leg issues, agreed to DH in the April 10 game in Texas with the team off the next day, and he said he has felt better since. He DH'd again Wednesday with the team off today.

"I haven't felt that fatigue," he said. "I feel like my legs are getting stronger and feeling better as the season goes on. And with that worry behind me, I can be focused on other things."

For example, hitting. Longoria extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games (with a .335 average) on Wednesday, and he became the first big-leaguer since 1999 to reach base in at least 45 of his team's first 46 games and just the 12th American Leaguer since 1916 to do so.

GOOD JEREMY: Lost in the loss, RHP Jeremy Hellickson had what might have been his best start of the year, working a season-high eight innings and allowing only four hits and two runs. "My fastball command was probably the best it's been," he said. "I think if I can command that, everything else is a little bit better."

ROTATION SHUFFLE: RHP Alex Cobb was moved up to face the Yankees on Sunday (on regular rest) and rookie RHP Jake Odorizzi back to face the Marlins on Monday. "Just based on experience," manager Joe Maddon said. "Cobb has been pitching really well, and Jake is new. Why not give Cobber the tougher assignment, pretty much."

ANOTHER SUSPENSION: RHP Angel Yepez became the ninth Rays minor-leaguer suspended for drug-related reasons since the start of last season, getting a 50-game ban after testing positive for performance-enhancing "metabolites of Nandrolone," per MLB. Yepez, 18, is in his first pro season and pitching in the Venezuelan Summer League.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Matt Joyce said the right hamstring tightness that forced him from Tuesday's game "is nothing too serious" and he expects to start Friday. … C Jose Molina returned to the lineup, having been out since leaving Saturday's game with left hamstring tightness.

PRICE CHECK: LHP David Price, on the DL a week with a triceps strain, is "feeling better" and "doing better" and hasn't had any setbacks, Maddon said. But it doesn't sound like he will be ready when eligible May 31, which would cover the two-three starts the Rays originally said he would miss.

Wednesday, Maddon said: "He's probably at the backside of three starts, I would say, at least. We're going to be real careful with this one." He said protocol likely will include at least one minor-league rehab start.

MISCELLANY: INF Sean Rodriguez made a momentum-killing baserunning blunder, picked off second after a leadoff double in the fourth. … The Rays had won 15 straight series against the Jays dating to August 2010. … What was originally scored an error on 1B James Loney on Colby Rasmus' 10th-inning squibber was changed to an infield hit. … The Rays went 4-2 on the trip to Baltimore and Toronto.

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