NEW YORK -- With Yankees star Derek Jeter battling injury across the diamond, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria spoke Friday about the respect he has for the New York shortstop, and how he's come to realize how difficult it can be to endure an entire season in good health.
Longoria played in just his 57th game of the season during a 6-4 win Friday. He was in Joe Maddon's lineup as designated hitter, as has been the case more than one-third of the time due to a bothersome hamstring injury. Jeter was also at designated hitter for the Yankees on Friday, for the second straight game, after aggravating a nagging bone bruise in his left ankle on Wednesday night.
"Obviously he's the ultimate pro," Longoria said of Jeter. "That's one of the reasons I think why so many people admire him, is his ability to really just put the team before himself. Just go out there and play every day, no complaints, nothing else said."
Jeter has played in at least 119 games every year since his first full-time season in New York in 1996.
"I try to model myself the same way," Longoria said. "We're at different points in our career. I wish I could play more games healthy in a year. I wish I could play the whole season."
Maddon called Longoria's situation a "'Godspell' moment" meaning that the team had to monitor the injury day by day, determining from there what kind of role Longoria could have on a daily basis. The third baseman said it's an issue that won't be fully healed until the offseason.
"It's probably gonna need rest," Longoria said. "That's something that I really haven't addressed. I just kind of show up and do what I can do. If I can do more that day, if I feel good that day, I try to push it. Just try to find that happy medium. It feels different every day."