Longoria leaves with sore hamstring

Longoria leaves with sore hamstring

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria's left hamstring barked again Wednesday night, and the Rays exercised caution by removing him from the game after the seventh inning.

Earlier in June, Longoria experienced tightness in his left hamstring, prompting the Rays to not start their All-Star third baseman for six games. He has played in 14 consecutive games since returning to the lineup.

"It was one of those things where I felt an opportunity to just kind of conserve it," Longoria said. "I didn't really feel that shooting, sharp pain that I did the last time. That's a good thing. Like I said, it was just an opportunity for me to get out of the game a little bit early. [I'll] get some ice on it and hopefully feel good tomorrow."

Longoria hopes to play Thursday in the final game of the Rays' three-game series against the Phillies.

"It feels fine right now," Longoria said.

Longoria felt the soreness when he pulled into second base after hitting a double in the sixth inning.

"A couple of steps before I hit the bag, I just felt a little twinge -- something I felt different than before," Longoria said. "It hasn't really felt exactly 100 percent since I've been back. So I've come to expect it. It's just been sore, and I've been playing through it."

Longoria played defense in the top of the seventh before telling manager Joe Maddon of the soreness.

"I wanted to stay in the inning defensively and see if it got any worse, and it didn't," Longoria said. "But like I said from the beginning, if I'm not able to help the team 100 percent, Willy [Aybar] can go in there and do the same job that I can."

Longoria said he will not undergo an MRI on the hamstring Thursday.

"Obviously, they talked about that," Longoria said. "I don't want to do that. It feels fine. It feels no different than it did two days ago, just precautionary.

"It's really just sore to the touch. I can do all the normal stuff, but when I try to accelerate, I feel it a little bit. It hasn't really acted up in the last three weeks. That was the first time I felt something different."

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