ST. PETERSBURG -- With the return of Luke Scott from the disabled list on Tuesday, Tampa Bay suddenly had a surplus at the designated hitter spot.
Knowing that he couldn't quite afford to have either Evan Longoria or Scott sit, manager Joe Maddon started Longoria at third base and Scott as the DH in a 1-0 loss to the Royals.
Maddon said prior to the game it would be unlikely that Longoria would play the entire game and he stayed true to his word. Prior to the eighth inning, Longoria was removed from the game.
The Rays slugger went 0-for-3 at the plate and had a relatively uneventful day in the field except for a jumping catch on a line drive off the bat of Salvador Perez.
"He looked fine in my mind," Maddon said. "I was going to take him out after seven innings regardless of whatever was going on. You gotta look at big picture here."
Maddon added that Longoria would probably be in Wednesday's lineup for the series finale, but would more likely serve as a DH than a third baseman.
It marked the first time Longoria played the field since sustaining a partially torn hamstring on April 30. Longoria was advised to not go all out for a play, erring on the side of caution.
How much Longoria happens to move each day defensively could impact how regularly he plays or even for how long. It's unlikely Longoria will play the entire game in the field any time soon.
"I don't anticipate he's gonna be out there for nine innings on any consistent basis yet," Maddon said. "... We just have to play this by ear."
The way Maddon told Longoria he felt he was ready to play the field was pretty straightforward, simply telling Longoria he would be in the lineup. The move didn't surprise Longoria at all.
"I kind of left the decision in his hands," Longoria said. "I was in anticipation of this because of the fact Luke was activated ... When he gets activated, we are a better team if I can play the field and allow him to be in the lineup."