Longoria exits, likely to have tests on sore knee

Longoria exits, likely to have tests on sore knee

Longoria exits, likely to have tests on sore knee
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria left Monday night's 3-2 win over the Mariners after the third inning with left knee soreness, an injury manager Joe Maddon described as a "day-to-day gig right now."

Longoria reached on a one-out single to left field in the third and was thrown out trying to steal second. He slid awkwardly into the base and appeared to catch his foot on Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan's cleat, coming up with a slight limp as he walked back toward the dugout. Maddon said he didn't know exactly when Longoria sustained the injury -- a "little bit" of soreness behind the knee, as Maddon described it -- but he will likely undergo tests Tuesday.

Elliot Johnson replaced Longoria at third base the next inning, batting in the three-hole between Carlos Pena and Luke Scott. Johnson couldn't come through in two opportunities with a runner on third in a tie game, but he eventually delivered a walk-off single to left field in the 12th inning.

"We definitely celebrated our win the way we always do," first baseman Carlos Pena said. "That's the way Evan would want it anyway. Obviously we're a little concerned. All of us are praying for him because he is a very important part of this ballclub, and we want to make sure that he's healthy, not only for us but most importantly for himself because I know he loves to be out there.

"We expect good news. We anticipate him to be back soon. That's where our mind is right now."

Longoria has started every game this season and is off to a great start at the plate, batting .329 with seven doubles, four homers, 15 walks and 19 RBIs. But the Rays have succeeded without him before, most recently in 2011 before he returned and put up outstanding numbers during the second half of the season.

"Obviously we're all worried about him. We don't know exactly what's going on, but anytime you lose a guy like that from your lineup, it's a big blow," center fielder B.J. Upton said. "I think we've got a good enough group around here to find a way to win. For the time being, if he's not playing, we're going to have to find a way. That's what it's about.

"We definitely never want to do it without him. Missing him in the lineup's big. But I think we know how to do it. We've been in this situation before, and we'll find a way to do it. Hopefully he's back sooner rather than later."