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Longoria exits game as plantar fasciitis flares up

Rays' third baseman has been dealing with condition in right foot

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria left Friday's game against the Tigers before the third inning, after irritating the plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Longoria, who batting cleanup on Friday, grounded out to second base in the second inning in his first at-bat of the game. He ran down the first-base line, but did not come back out for the top of the third.

After notifying head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, who notified manager Joe Maddon, Longoria was sent home during the game and was not available to the media after the 6-3 loss. Maddon said Longoria would not play on Saturday and classified him as doubtful for Sunday's game.

"He's a little bit tender in the foot area," Maddon said. "We have to wait for it to calm down to make a better evaluation. We'll know more [Saturday]."

Kelly Johnson replaced Longoria at third base and struck out three times.

Longoria, who will be re-evaluated on Saturday, has previously dealt with plantar fasciitis in his right foot this season, an ailment that forced him to start at designated hitter for all four games of the Rays' series with the Royals earlier this month.

"He's the best player here," catcher Jose Lobaton said after the game. "He's the leader. We just have to keep going. There's nothing we can do other than pray for him to come back quick."

Johnson started at third base in that series against Kansas City, but Longoria returned to third base on the road, citing Tropicana Field's artificial turf as the cause of the additional discomfort in his foot.

Tampa Bay's All-Star third baseman, the only Rays player to start every game this season, was limited to 74 games in 2012 due to a partially torn left hamstring. He missed time in 2011 due to a strained left oblique, playing in 133 games that season.

"He's had all these little nagging things over the last couple years," Maddon said. "He tries to play through them. He's played through a lot of different stuff. I guess it just started to bite too much."

Sam Strong is an associate reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Evan Longoria, Kelly Johnson