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There’s a lot on Evan Longoria’s mind, but his swing looks just fine


Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


There are issues with his foot, and there are issues that are weighing on him as he again tries to do his job and play a game through a pandemic.

There are no issues with Evan Longoria’s bat.

The Giants third baseman barely played the field during spring training because of plantar fasciitis that he will have to manage this year, but he was at the hot corner in Thursday’s opener and he was again hot at the plate, launching the first home run of the Giants’ season, off Marco Gonzales, to right. He had blistered the ball in Arizona, too, his swing looking like it belongs to a 25-year-old and not a 35-year-old.

He did not show off the stroke in front of his family, his children in school in Arizona and mostly staying there during the season (although they are planning to make a San Diego trip at the end of the month). His wife, Jaime Edmondson Longoria, is pregnant, and Evan needs to play baseball all around the country.

“It’s going to be another tough year,” Longoria said Friday before Game Two of the season against the Mariners.

A vaccine shot, too, is giving him more to think about and research to do. He said he “probably” will get vaccinated but wants all the information before making an informed choice.

He and Gabe Kapler have talked about it, conversations the manager wants to keep private.

“My advice [to any player] is to keep talking about it,” Kapler said over Zoom.

Major League Baseball, while welcoming fans back to parks, already has been reminded this year that the pandemic is not over, with the Mets-Nationals series being postponed because of positive tests on Washington. There are plenty of talks around the Giants going on about continuing to stay safe.

“There’s a lot we’re dealing with. I think there’s a lot everybody’s dealing with,” Longoria said. “And so we’re just obviously trying to make the right decisions for us, for our family and for our team and the organization.”

It is remarkable that the three-time All-Star has not brought the weight to the field and the batters box. He posted a 1.298 OPS in 29 plate appearances in the Cactus League, all while dealing with the foot problem that won’t go away, then started his campaign 2-for-4 with that dinger and a walk.

He’s batting cleanup on Friday at T-Mobile Park against lefty Yusei Kikuchi and playing third, but maybe he’ll get a break Saturday, when the Mariners are set to start righty Chris Flexen. Tommy La Stella has yet to debut because of the lefties the Giants have faced early on.

Longoria was asked about his good start, and he corrected the question with a smile.

“It wasn’t a great start. We didn’t win the game, so ultimately, that’s how we’re going to be judged at the end of the year,” Longoria said.

He will be happier when the results turn. He will be happier, like everyone, when the world is a bit more normal again.

 

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