Rays third baseman Evan Longoria took live batting practice on Sunday morning for the first time since straining his left oblique during the first week of the regular season. He reported feeling great and told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times soon after the workout that it was a “huge step forward.”
Longoria will travel with the Rays to Minnesota this week and participate in pregame batting practice on Wednesday and Thursday before heading out on a minor league rehab assignment.
The Rays want him to get about 20 at-bats in the minor leagues, which could take five or six games to accomplish. Longoria, however, thinks he will be ready after two or three contests.
“I know I didn’t spend that much time in the minor leagues,” he said Sunday, ‘”but I don’t want to go back and spend any more.”
The 25-year-old Longoria was 0-for-5 with a walk before suffering the early-April oblique injury. The Rays have been using Sean Rodriguez and Felipe Lopez at the hot corner primarily in his absence.
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).