Rays’ Longoria to miss at least three weeks with strained oblique

Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria (L) reacts in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters as he strikes out swinging during the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

It has not been a great start to 2011 for the Tampa Bay Rays, who were just swept by the Orioles in their first series of the season. Adding injury to insult, the club also had to place star Evan Longoria on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.

The early diagnosis on Longoria is that he’ll be out at least three weeks so best-case, he won’t be back before late April. Sean Rodriguez will replace him in the lineup, while Ben Zobrist will play second base and Matt Joyce will start in right. Felipe Lopez was also called up from Triple-A and will likely see some at bats over these next three weeks as well.

Rodriguez replaced Longoria at third base on Saturday before the start of the sixth inning. He was then evaluated on Sunday and it was determined that he would have to be placed on the DL. While he doesn’t believe that he’ll be out for the full three weeks, players are generally overoptimistic when it comes to injuries.

The Rays scored a total of just three runs at home against the Orioles, dropping 4-1, 3-1 and 5-1 decisions from Friday through Sunday. Longoria has started off the year 0-for-5 at the dish with one walk and one strikeout.

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