Evan Longoria starting at DH, batting cleanup for Rays

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As expected Evan Longoria is off the disabled list and back in the Rays’ lineup tonight for the first time since April 30.

Longoria, who missed 85 games with a hamstring injury, is batting cleanup but for now at least the Rays are keeping him off the field defensively by using him at designated hitter.

Limiting Longoria’s odds of a setback by asking him to simply hit 4-5 times per game seems like a worthwhile idea, particularly since third baseman Ryan Roberts would probably be in the lineup anyway.

Tampa Bay went 41-44 in Longoria’s absence and trails New York by 7.0 games in the AL East, but is just 2.0 games out of a Wild Card spot.