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Longoria on track to open season healthy

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Count Evan Longoria among the position players who reported early to camp Tuesday.

After a season that saw him miss 85 games because of a partially torn left hamstring, Longoria had minor offseason surgery Nov. 21 to correct the problem. The Rays third baseman now appears eager to get going.

"[The surgery] was really a surprise to me," Longoria said. "Two weeks after, I was feeling like a new man. It was something I was really hesitant to do in the beginning. Any time you have to go under the knife and have them take something out or fix something, it's pretty nerve racking. I was a little bit nervous going into it. But the way that it's responded, the way that my workouts have gone after it, after the little procedure, I couldn't have been happier with doing it."

Staying healthy this season is of major concern to Longoria. Given the fact that Tampa Bay went 41-44 without him and 47-27 with him in the lineup in 2012, you can bet the Rays want nothing more than for the All-Star to be injury-free.

"I'd like to play every game, trust me; I try to play every game every year," Longoria said. "Just be healthy every year, every day. If I have to take a day off here or there to not go on the DL and not have to deal with that kind of stress or worry, I'll do it. But again, trying to avoid the DL will be the biggest thing for me."

To that end, Longoria said he has been running and testing his left hamstring "all I can."

"I really haven't been held back," Longoria said. "I might take a couple of steps back here in the first weeks of spring, as far as running bases and stuff, because that's really the only thing I haven't done. But honestly I don't anticipate any problems. It's felt really good."

Longoria and his girlfriend, Jaime Edmondson, are expecting a baby April 1, which, along with his signing a new contract and having surgery, has contributed to a busy offseason. The Rays open their season April 2 against the Orioles at Tropicana Field at 3:10 p.m. ET. Longoria smiled when asked if he would be playing in the opening game.

"I don't know; physically, yes," Longoria said. "But whenever that baby decides to come, she'll come. So we'll see."

Longoria and Edmondson know their baby is a girl, so the natural question had to be whether the couple planned to name her Eva.

"No, no, not Eva," Longoria chuckled.

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