Rays sure to benefit from Longoria's presence

Rays sure to benefit from Longoria's presence

Rays sure to benefit from Longoria's presence
ST. PETERSBURG -- The return of Evan Longoria to the Rays' lineup on Tuesday wasn't just a welcome sight for him.

Outfielder Matt Joyce said Longoria's presence should mean good things for the rest of the team, which saw its order shaken up on Sunday against Baltimore.

"When you have a guy that can do what Longoria can do, it impacts the players around you, because the pitcher can't pitch around you if Longo is hitting behind you," Joyce said. "They're gonna be a little more careful. Maybe they'll attack you a little bit more and give you more pitches to hit."

Jeff Keppinger had been seeing time as the designated hitter, but that spot was filled by Longoria. Batting .423 against lefties this season with J.A. Happ on the mound for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, Keppinger was moved to first base with Carlos Pena getting a day off.

"By giving Carlos the appropriate time off against certain lefties it might actually make him even stronger against righties," Rays manager Joe Maddon said about the potential of having Keppinger play first base against certain left-handers.

"There's certain lefties I want them both to play against. ... You have to look at each lefty individually."

In the past, Joyce has also sparingly been in the lineup against southpaws, so Maddon elected to move utility man Ben Zobrist to right field and insert Sean Rodriguez at second base.

The Rays' lineup on Tuesday consisted of all righties or switch-hitters, and Maddon said it was because of Happ.

"We're just able to, so we're gonna do it," Maddon said.