Longoria plays short for injured Bartlett

Longoria starts at shortstop

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria made his Major League debut at shortstop on Thursday night, as Jason Bartlett was a last-minute scratch for the series finale vs. the Cubs.

Bartlett was initially diagnosed with a bruised left foot, after fouling a ball of his foot during batting practice. The 28-year-old shortstop had started 67 of the Rays 71 games prior to Thursday's injury.

Longoria, regularly the Rays' starting third baseman, has previously played some shortstop while at Long Beach State University. The 22-year-old rookie has been taking reps at the position the last few weeks, as Bartlett's pregnant wife, Kelly, is nearing her due date, and the club was anticipating missing Bartlett for two games.

With Longoria shifting over Thursday night, Willy Aybar started at third base and Eric Hinske moved from right field to first base. Gabe Gross entered the game in the outfield, sliding into the No. 9 hole vacated by Bartlett in the lineup.

Bartlett was batting .560 (14-for-25) in Interleague Play this season, tops in the Majors.

Although Longoria has yet to see time at shortstop, he has more than held his own at the Rays' hot corner. He entered Thursday night's game with an American League-leading .977 fielding percentage at third base.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.