By Tim Heaney on April 3, 2011
The Tampa Bay Rays have placed 3B Evan Longoria (oblique) on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Manager Joe Maddon said he is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks.
While the fantasy stud is parked on your DL, the Rays will likely slide Sean Rodriguez over to third base, but the versatile Felipe Lopez, who will be called up to take Longo's roster spot, could also see time there. This move likely opens up time for Matt Joyce in right field; he still struggles against lefties but has pop to hit 20-plus homers even in a full season's worth of platoon duty.
Lopez hasn't stolen many bases in recent seasons but joins a squad that encourages running. The malleable Rays lineup offers plenty of chances for Lopez to play. He's worth a speculative addition in AL-only setups and could have fleeting use in deep mixed leagues, especially if you're struggling to find help for your middle infield spots. Sam Fuld could see more reps, as well, and he he has some power-speed potential, but he's strictly a secondary AL-only trial.
Tampa Bay could also call up Desmond Jennings sometime in the next few weeks if things aren't working out as currently constructed; he's probably already owned in AL leagues, but steal-starved owners in cavernous mixed formats with a free roster spot can roll the dice.Warning: The Rays have enough pieces on their MLB roster to fill the gap, and if Jennings comes to the bigs and Longo misses the minimum time, Jennings would likely head right back down to Triple-A Durham.