As first reported by beat writer Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Evan Longoria is back in the Rays’ starting lineup on Tuesday night against the Astros after sitting out all weekend following a flareup of the plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Longoria is batting cleanup and will serve as the Rays’ designated hitter rather than playing third base. That’s mostly just a precautionary measure.
Longo has posted a .917 OPS and tallied 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 80 games this season. He may need random days off down the stretch to protect his right foot, but it’s not an ailment that should require many extended absences.
There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.
The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.
All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.
After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.
Here’s today’s schedule: