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Hot-hitting Longoria waiting on power stroke

ARLINGTON -- Evan Longoria started at DH Wednesday afternoon. Rays manager Joe Maddon explained that he just wanted to get his All-Star third baseman off his feet for a day.

"Just trying to preserve the number of games he can participate in this year," Maddon said. "In doing it this way, we have an off day tomorrow, so this kind of gives him a half-day here today, full day tomorrow. Going into Friday, he'll be nice and frisky."

Maddon added that Arlington's wet weather had not been a factor in the decision.

Longoria brought a .370 batting average into Wednesday afternoon's game, but this is the deepest into the season he has ever gone without hitting a home run. Maddon did not see that as a problem.

"I just think they're not giving him pitches to hit for power with," Maddon said. "That's part of the issue. His swing is outstanding. He's probably fouled back his pitch a couple of times.

"I think he looks really good at the plate also. I like his willingness to take the ball the other way right now. That's part of what I'd like to see us do more consistently. We talked about it last year. There's a lot of good stuff in the opposite field. I think for a while we've had the kind of guys who were unable to utilize the opposite field. We have a different group of guys now who should be more able to do that."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Evan Longoria, Jeff Niemann, Alex Cobb