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Opposite-field homers show Longo's evolution

Opposite-field homers show Longo's evolution


NEW YORK -- Evan Longoria has already set a personal high with five opposite-field homers in 2013 after hitting only 11 out to right field prior to this season.

"I think more of it, it's a conscious effort," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "In game, I think he's cognizant of being pitched away, or away and down, and he's hitting the ball that way, as opposed to trying to pulling a pitch that was away for an out. But now it's turning into something positive for him. I just think that's the evolution of a good hitter right there."

Two of Longoria's opposite-field homers came Thursday night against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, a place that seems to embrace opposite-field homers based on the ease at which they seem to fly out over its short right-field porch.

"It's different," Maddon said. "Apparently the numbers on the wall are accurate. It just plays differently than the [original Yankee Stadium]. I don't know if there is some kind of a current that just runs in that direction like the gulfstream; you can't see it, but it's there. Apparently it makes an impact."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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