May 28, 2011, 2:18 PM EDT
Here’s something interesting.
Longoria missed the entire month of April with an oblique injury and is batting just .209/.317/.372 over his first 101 plate appearances this season, so Rays manager Joe Maddon is trying to shake him out of his slump. The 25-year-old third baseman has primarily batted third or fourth during his career.
It’s difficult to criticize Maddon for this one. Longoria is having some issues with pitch recognition right now, but he’s also making contact at a career-high rate of 87.6 percent. It’s a super small sample size, of course, but we have a larger body of evidence telling us that pretty soon those outs will turn into hits. When you consider that the Rays are batting just .211/.268/.319 out of the leadoff spot this season, it’s a worthwhile short-term experiment.
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