ST. PETERSBURG — It was the top of the eighth inning, and Willy Aybar was running out to play third base.
In the training room icing the hamstring that forced him to miss six starts earlier this month.
The Tampa Bay Rays third baseman said he felt soreness in his left hamstring while legging out a double to left field in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 7-1 victory against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
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“It was one of those things where I felt I had an opportunity to conserve it,” Longoria said. “I didn’t really feel that shooting sharp pain I did last time, and that’s a good thing.”
Longoria strained his left hamstring while trying to beat out a ground ball against the Kansas City Royals on June 6. He didn’t start the next six games, though he did pinch-hit twice.
The injury seemed to slow his production at the plate. Since returning, Longoria is hitting .269 with three home runs and six RBIs.
Longoria said he didn’t think he would need an MRI, and Rays manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t think the injury was serious.
“It feels fine,” Longoria said. “It feels no different than it did two days ago.”
Longoria said he plans to play Thursday in the finale of the three game series with the Phillies, though he added he won’t return to the field until he feels the hamstring is 100 percent.