TORONTO -- The Rays' lineup for Thursday's series finale
against the Blue Jays featured a few noticeable changes. The most important of which was the absence of rookie Evan Longoria, who had started every game at third base since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on April 12.
Prior to the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon was quick to clarify that nothing was wrong with his third baseman, but instead it was just a day off to give the 22-year-old some rest.
"I just thought he was pressing a bit and I just wanted to back him off," Maddon said. "With [Jesse] Litsch pitching today and with all his sliders, I thought if there was a day to [rest Longoria], today would be the perfect day."
Maddon did say that Longoria, who is hitting .221 with three home runs and 11 RBIs, would be available off the bench if needed.
Another change to the lineup saw regular left fielder Carl Crawford as the designated hitter for the first time this season. Crawford had started each of the Rays' 33 games in left field.
"It's a mini day off," Maddon said. "Just to get him off his feet a little bit. That's something we talked about last year."
When asked about the move, Crawford said, "Joe surprised me with that one today. But I'll take it. Get a little rest and get off the leg a little bit."
"We'll see how it goes," Crawford added later with a laugh. "If I do bad, then there'll be no more DHing for me."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.