TORONTO -- Joe Maddon recently commented that Evan Longoria was playing better than he had ever seen him play.
Longoria downplayed the Rays manager's compliment.
"I just think that I'm happy I've been able to be healthy and on the field," Longoria said. "And just that in itself creates a real positive mentality, a real ability to just be focused on one thing every day. And that's going out and winning the game any way we can and being able to help in as many ways as I can.
"Again, I just continue to do the things I've been doing to stay healthy in the training room and in the weight room, and hopefully it continues to pay off on the field."
Longoria took a career-high 15-game hitting streak into Wednesday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays. There have been only six longer streaks in club history.
Longoria played in only 74 games last season due to a partially torn left hamstring. The Rays posted a 47-27 record in those games and went 43-45 when he did not play. To ward off the injury bug this season, Longoria normally spends a couple of extra hours on daily conditioning.
"It's a constant balancing act to keep in good shape and try not to tire yourself out, to be ready to play the game on a daily basis," Longoria said. "I've been doing a good job to this point and I'll continue to do the same thing."
Longoria confessed to reporters that he went through an early spell this season when he questioned his health.
"I felt pretty bad after the first week of the season; like 10 games in, I was kind of scared," Longoria said. "You probably don't play but three or four games in a row at the most toward the end of Spring Training. Once we got a week to 10 days into the season, my legs were tired and thoughts started to creep in about how I was going to do it for 162 games. But I had a [designated hitter] day and then we had an off-day. And ever since then, I've felt like my legs have responded really well on a daily basis.
"I haven't felt that same fatigue. I felt like my legs have been getting stronger and feeling better as the season goes. So with that worry behind me, it's just, again, I can be focused on other things. When you don't feel physically 100 percent, it's tough to do anything up to your capability. So I'm just happy that I feel well."
So how many games will Longoria play this season?
"Again, 155 would be awesome," Longoria said. "I mean, 155 games, there's probably just a fraction of the Major League Baseball population that plays 155 games every year. So to be included in that would be awesome. Of course I would love to be able to play 162, but I'd take 155 for a lot of years."
Joyce downplays hamstring tightness
TORONTO -- Matt Joyce left Tuesday night's game with the Blue Jays due to right hamstring tightness.
On Wednesday, the Rays outfielder said what he experienced was only tightness and nothing more, so he did not see the problem lingering.
Joyce started Tuesday night's game in right field and exited after playing the field in the sixth.
"It was just tight running down first," Joyce said. "It was just tightness. I wouldn't say it was a real grab. ... Basically, the hammy just got tight. It's nothing too serious. It was just precautionary. I told them I wanted to stay in. I wanted to hit, maybe get someone to pinch-run. [Bench coach] Davey [Martinez] and [manager] Joe [Maddon] just kind of decided to be a little more cautious and careful with it. Today it feels pretty good."
Ryan Roberts took Joyce's spot in the order and took over at second base. Ben Zobrist moved from second base to right field.
Joyce said his situation would not keep him out of the lineup come Friday night when the Rays play the Yankees and right-hander David Phelps, which means Joyce would most likely be in the lineup.
"Obviously, tomorrow's an off-day, so I can take some time off and recover, rest," Joyce said.
Joyce believes his problem was a byproduct of the weather the team has experienced while playing in Baltimore and Toronto.
"I think between Baltimore and [Toronto], it's been really humid -- even that day game here with that heat bouncing off the turf," Joyce said. "I think I just got a little dehydrated."
Rays swap Cobb, Odorizzi in rotation
TORONTO -- The Rays have decided to alter their rotation for this weekend's series against the Yankees.
Rather than have rookie Jake Odorizzi start Sunday's game against CC Sabathia, the Rays have moved up Alex Cobb to take the spot. Odorizzi will now start the opening game of a two-game series against the Marlins.
Thursday's off-day made the move possible.
Rays manager Joe Maddon explained the rationale behind the move, noting that Cobb has more experience, he has been pitching well, the Yankees are a division rival on a roll and Odorizzi just arrived.
"Everything speaks to [the move]," Maddon said. "It's not a slight to anybody. It's probably the right thing to do. Anybody given the same circumstances or choice [would do the same thing]."
When Maddon first mentioned the possibility that Tampa Bay might alter the rotation, there was reason to believe Roberto Hernandez might be asked to miss a turn based on his two-inning performance against Baltimore on Saturday. But Maddon noted that was never a consideration.
Rays Minor Leaguer Yepez suspended
TORONTO -- The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced Wednesday that Rays Minor League right-hander Angel Yepez has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for metabolites of Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspension of Yepez, who is currently on the roster of the Venezuelan Summer League Rays, will be effective at the start of the VSL season.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.