Evan Longoria's legs felt fine as spring training came to an end and the regular season dawned. But that's spring training, where innings are limited and days off are many. One of the biggest questions surrounding the Tampa Bay Rays as they embarked on the 2013 season — Longoria's health — did not appear to be an issue during the first week or so of the season. Make that, it did not appear to be an issue to anyone who doesn't wear No. 3 and play third base for the Rays. “I felt pretty bad after the first week of the season, like 10 games in,” Longoria said. “I was kind of scared.” Longoria missed 85 games last season with a partially torn left hamstring that required offseason surgery. Add that to a history of leg woes and you can easily understand Longoria's trepidation when the bounce he expected from his legs was missing. “My legs were tired and thoughts started to creep in about how I was going to do it for 162 games,” he said. Look at him now: A career-best 16-game hitting streak — three shy of the club record of 19 set in 2009 by Jason Bartlett — and a .335 batting average that ranked fifth in the American League heading into Thursday's action. He is the only Ray to start every game this season. Longoria has reached base in a major league-high 45 games. The Rays have played 46 games, meaning he has failed to reach base in only one game. For historical perspective, Longoria is one of only 12 American League players to reach base 44 or more times in their teams' first 45 games, and the second major-leaguer to accomplish that feat this century, joining Washington's Ryan Zimmerman, who did it in 2009.
Rays' Longoria building strength after shaky start
Tampa Tribune | May 25