Page last updated on Sun Mar 29 08:29:20 EDT 2015
Tue, 08 May 2012 12:38 AM EDT

Evan Longoria took a right turn out of the Tampa Bay clubhouse and walked 1 or 2 feet before stepping in front of a group of journalists huddled around a lineup board that will not list his name for the following 4 to 8 weeks. Baseball spreads

The 3-time All-Star was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a partly torn left hamstring. Replacing his bat and glove won’t be easy.

Yet the Rays are assured they are going to be OK without their best player, who’s hitting .329 with 4 homers and 19 RBIs.

“I’ve been in similar situations before and it’s only one of those things where I’ll stay positive,” the 3rd baseman said. “It’s going to be tough to watch, but I can’t actually worry about it at the moment. I’ve just got to worry about getting healthy.”

The Rays have ability for finding somebody to step up when star players are struggling or hurt. That’s one reason they’re assured they can resist Longoria’s absence.

“We’re still a fairly good team. We are going to have to be that much better defensively, that much better with our execution on the basepaths,” executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman claimed.

“Our pitching’s going to be very good. We’re going to score runs,” he added.

“So it’s one of those things where it’s absolutely not perfect, but we do have plenty of talent around him that should still allow us to win plenty of games.”

The Rays have made the playoffs 3 of the past 4 seasons, including 2008 when they won the AL East and made an unlikely run to the World Series. That year, just about every starter spent time on the disabled list, including Longoria.

Tampa Bay lost the slugger for 26 games early last year and recovered from a slow beginning to rally from a 9-game deficiency in September to win the AL wild card on Longoria’s game-ending homer on the final night of the regular season.

“I don’t have any doubts,” that teammates will step up and help the Rays continue a robust start, Longoria said.

“We’ve been down this road before,” executive Joe Maddon announced.

“There’s no crying in baseball. … You just try and make the best choices after and move on. But you can not worry about it. You don’t talk about it negatively because that will bring you down.”

“It’s unclear yet how much time he’ll miss. It’s going to be a minimum of 4 weeks. Somewhere in the 4 to 8 (range), dependent on how he replies and how treatment goes,” Friedman related.

“He’s always been a pretty good healer. He’s had some hamstring issues in the past and has come back from them pretty swiftly relatively speaking, so we are not going to put a firm timeline on it.”

Longoria was sidelined by a strained left oblique muscle most of the opening month a year ago. He had a robust 2nd half, finishing with 31 homers and 99 RBIs.

He helped the Rays to a 15-8 record in April — the 2nd-best opening month in organization history — and thought he had left his problems with injuries behind him.

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