ST. PETERSBURG -- Prior to Tuesday night's game, third baseman Evan Longoria was activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing the last 26 games with a left oblique strain.
Longoria got one hit in four trips to the plate in the Rays' 3-2 win. In addition, he flashed some leather, making a nifty back-handed stab of J.P. Arencibia's shot down the line in the second. The Gold Glove Award-winning third baseman then threw across his body to get Arencibia at first.
Longoria was placed on the DL on April 3, just 40 hours into the season.
"Hopefully I can catch up with these guys and be in stride with them as soon as possible," Longoria said.
Longoria went 4-for-15 with three home runs in his four-game rehab assignment with Double-A Montgomery. He noted that getting some good results in his return helped.
"You don't want to go 0-for-20 in a rehab stint," Longoria said. "Obviously you have to experience some results in this game to have any kind of confidence. Hitting a couple of home runs was kind of a feel-good thing. I really wasn't expecting results. I was expecting to feel good and be positive going into the next day."
Longoria said experiencing the Minor Leagues again was strange.
"It's just weird going back down there again," Longoria said. "You don't realize what you have here until you go back down there. Not having fresh coffee. I don't think I drank a cup of coffee down there. I probably drink three or four cups here. Just obviously, not used to the spreads, or lack thereof. So it's definitely a little bit different."
Having been gone as long as he was, Longoria expected to receive his share of razzing and noted that it's is all in fun.
"It feels like it's been forever [since] I've been on the field and in uniform contributing," Longoria said. "I expect it. And they wouldn't be good teammates if they weren't busting my chops a little bit."
The Rays went 15-11 in Longoria's absence. The three players who have played in place of Longoria (Felipe Lopez, Sean Rodriguez and Dan Johnson) have hit a combined .198 (19-for-96) with two home runs, 11 RBIs and 31 strikeouts while playing third.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.