ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays received infield reinforcements to compensate for the loss of third baseman Evan Longoria on Saturday when infielder Ryan Roberts was recalled from Triple-A Durham.
Manager Joe Maddon expects to split starts at third base between Kelly Johnson, who filled in for Longoria on Friday and started on Saturday, and Roberts depending on matchups. Roberts is likely to see more time against left-handed pitching.
Roberts was on the Opening Day roster and started 25 games for the club before being sent to Durham on June 17 to make room for Wil Myers.
Roberts, who was hitting .238 for the Rays, hit .276 in eight games with Durham.
"I wasn't angry when I got sent down," Roberts said Saturday. "I wasn't bitter toward anybody. I knew I was going down there for a reason. I got at-bats. I played every day. I got to see a wide range of pitchers and pitches. I definitely think I came back a little better than I left."
Some of Roberts' Tampa Bay teammates didn't recognize the clean-shaven version of Roberts, who complied with a Durham team rule and shaved his beard, which required a trimming machine and two razors.
"I stood in front of the mirror staring at myself for a good 30 or 45 seconds," Roberts said. "I hadn't seen my cheeks or my chin in about seven years. It was eye-opening. I Skyped with my daughter and she wouldn't even look at the phone because she kept saying, 'Where's Daddy's beard?' It was definitely a reality check for me."
Right-hander Alex Colome, who is 1-1 in three starts this season, was optioned to Durham to make room for Roberts. Colome's demotion cuts Maddon's starting rotation from six to five, a necessity for David Price's return from the disabled list on Tuesday.
Longoria sits from lineup for first time this season
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was not placed on the disabled list Saturday after the plantar fasciitis in his right foot flared up in the second inning of Friday's loss to Detroit.
Longoria wore a walking boot out of Tropicana Field on Friday but had shed the boot Saturday and said he felt less sore than he expected.
"I'm hoping that after some of the pain I'm experiencing today subsides, I'll be able to go back out there as soon as possible," Longoria said. "It's not something that I think is going to threaten me long term, it's just pretty sore today."
Previously the only Ray and one of just 11 Major Leaguers to start in each game this season, Longoria's name was missing from Saturday's lineup card. He started all but eight of those games at third base, with another bout with plantar fasciitis forcing him into being the DH, something he "didn't like."
"I feel that my body feels better when I play every day," Longoria said. "It's tough to play this game once a week and feel like you're ready the next day. It's a routine thing. Your body gets used to it and you know what to expect the next day. It's definitely a point of pride. I want to go out there and play in the field every day and be able to do the things that have made me successful and beneficial to this team."
Manager Joe Maddon is hopeful that Longoria will be back in the lineup sometime during the Rays' visit to Houston next week but could not assign a timetable to his recovery.
Although a return date is not known, Longoria said he prefers this sort of day-to-day injury as opposed to the torn left hamstring that kept him out for more than three months last season. The Rays averaged nearly one fewer run per game and had a losing record without him in 2012.
Longoria has not received an MRI, and the X-rays he received during the last flare-up in mid-June revealed no permanent damage.
Gomes dealing with setback in rehab assignment
ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-handed reliever Brandon Gomes was scheduled to throw his second rehab inning for Class A Charlotte on Thursday but felt discomfort in his strained right lat.
"Gomer felt more sore than he had been when he was warming up to pitch," manager Joe Maddon said Saturday. "It was a little bit of a setback. He'll be re-evaluated to see where he's at. The soreness did pick up a notch. To that point, everything was going along swimmingly. He was doing good."
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.