Longo could return by middle of next week

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Posted June 15, 2012 at 05:33 PM

There’s a chance Rays third baseman Evan Longoria could return by the middle of next week if his left hamstring responds favorable when he puts it to the test this weekend for the Triple A Durham Bulls.

Longoria, who will miss his 41st game tonight with a partially torn left hamstring, will be the DH on Saturday then play third base on Sunday. Infielder Jeff Keppinger, rehabbing broken right big toe, will play the infield tonight for the Bulls and DH on Saturday.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said before tonight’s game with the visiting Marlins that he wasn’t sure of Longoria’s schedule, but said there will be a meeting Tuesday to talk about when Longoria can return to the big club.

“We had talked about it pretty much running it through Tuesday and then having a discussion with both of them and seeing how they are feeling and what people are seeing from the other side,” Maddon said. “I’m not overly concerned with Longo’s number of at-bats or throwing the ball. He’s been doing all that, baseball activities, BP, throwing, fielding ground balls, he’s fine. It’s about being on his leg, running the bases, sliding possibly. Those are the areas he needs to be tested in.”

Maddon had said Longoria would need seven-to-10 days of playing minor league games with days off mixed in before he could come off the disabled list. But that schedule seems to have been amended.

“It could be sooner,” Maddon said. “After Tuesday we’ll know, and if there is any kind of hesitation then it will be about seven days. It could be possibly less if everything goes well.”

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