Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
As the Tampa Bay Rays look to keep pace in the American League wild-card hunt, an injury to Evan Longoria’s thumb will only add to their hitting woes.
The Rays announced that Longoria left Friday’s game against the Cleveland Indians with a thumb contusion, adding that X-rays were negative.
The 31-year-old Longoria hit over 30 home runs with a slugging percentage over .500 for the first time since 2009 last season. He also played in at least 160 games for the fourth straight season, giving the Rays some offensive stability that they have otherwise lacked for years.
There was a two-year stretch in 2011-12 when Longoria missed 117 games and appeared to be breaking down physically. He has rebounded nicely from that rough patch in his career, looking more like the perennial All-Star when his career first started.
With Longoria on the shelf, the Rays will use Daniel Robertson at third base for the time being. The 23-year-old Robertson is in his first MLB season and has been used as a super-utility player in Tampa Bay.
The Rays still have Longoria under contract through 2022, so making sure he’s healthy and ready to pick up where he left off is of the utmost importance for this franchise.