The Tampa Bay Rays managed to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 in 12 innings last night. Unfortunately for the Rays, superstar third baseman Evan Longoria injured himself while attempting to steal second base in the bottom of the third. Some thought his knee might be the source of the injury, but as Marc Topkin tweets, Longoria hurt his hamstring.
At this point nobody knows how much time Longoria is expected to miss. In his tweet Marc Topkin speculated that Longoria could miss up to 6 weeks. General Manager Andrew Friedman responded to Topkin’s suggestion and argued:
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said it was “premature” to say how Longoria would be out and they would see how he felt when he reported to Tropicana Field today to make their move, and that it was not automatic Longoria would go on the DL. If he does and they make an internal move, the most likely choices are Reid Brignac (with Sean Rodriguez potentially moving to third) or Will Rhymes.
Losing Longoria for an extended period of time would be a huge blow to the Rays. For the 2012 season Longoria is hitting 329/433/561 with 4 homers, 19 runs driven in and 2 steals. He’s a powerful right handed bat in a lineup loaded with lefties, and this could make the Rays very vulnerable to lefties late in the game.
Having Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac on the left side of the infield isn’t an ideal situation. Longoria is significantly better with the bat, and is a gold glove calibre third baseman. If Rodriguez or Brignac struggle it’s possible that Elliot Johnson, who filled in for Longoria last night, could be called on to be the third baseman in Longoria’s absence.
It’s also worth noting that even when Longoria returns, he likely will still suffer from the hamstring injury. This might make him less likely to steal bases, or prevent him from snagging balls that he might otherwise have caught up to before the injury. So even if he returns before the 6-8 week period, he could still feel the effects of the injury throughout the 2012 season.
At 15-8, the Rays currently hold a one game lead in the AL East over the Baltimore Orioles. Game two of their four game series against the Mariners continues tonight at 7:10 PM (EST) with Matt Moore (0-1, 4.68 ERA) taking on Hector Noesi (1-2, 8.83 ERA).