If there was ever going to be news that the Tampa Bay Rays would not want to hear, it would involve Evan Longoria being injured. With that being the case, you may want to back out of this post right now.
Let us step into Professor Peabody’s WayBack Machine, and head back in time to the halcyon days of 2013. That year, Evan Longoria had what would be a down season by his standards, producing a .269/.343/.498 batting line, hitting 32 homers. While the power numbers were solid, the Tampa Bay Rays third baseman just did not look right all year. Later, we learned that Longoria was battling plantar fasciitis all year, hindering his effectiveness at the plate.
This season, after a hot start, Longoria has been in an extended slump. Over the past week, Longoria has just three hits in his last 32 plate appearances, dragging his overall batting line down to a .208/.296/.376 rate. It was hoped that Longoria was just in a bit of a slump, and would return to form soon.
Instead, there may be plenty of reason for concern. Longoria is reportedly battling discomfort in that same foot he injured four years ago, which is leading to his current struggles at the plate. If that is the case, and Longoria is dealing with another flare up of those foot issues from four years ago, it is certainly concerning for the Rays moving forward.
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It is, however, worth noting that Longoria’s foot issues did not keep him out of the lineup in 2013. He missed just two games that year, and played every game the following season. Even though he was not quite the same player he had been previously, he was still a powerful bat in the lineup, a true threat in the Rays lineup.
Although he missed last night’s game due to those foot issues, one can hope that this is just a rest day and he will be back today. Even Longoria at 80% of his ability is a tremendous upgrade over what the Rays would put at third.
With the Rays hovering around .500, and done with what should be their hardest month on the schedule, there is plenty of reason for hope. And yet, those hopes could be dashed just as they are beginning, depending on whether or not Longoria can play through the pain in his foot.
It is difficult to pin the hopes of a team on one player, but considering how much the Tampa Bay Rays depend on Evan Longoria, he is a major part of their offensive attack. Hopefully, this is just a minor issue, and Longoria can be back to form soon.