Evan Longoria takes live BP, nearing rehab assignment

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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.

Eric Hinske joins Angels as a hitting coach

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The Angels announced on Monday that Eric Hinske has joined the team to serve as the new hitting coach. Hinske had been the hitting coach for the Cubs since 2014.

Hinske, 40, spent parts of 12 years in the majors, though he never played for the Angels (or the Cubs). He put up a .762 OPS over his career.

Dave Hansen had been the Angels hitting coach since the end of the 2015 season but the Angels decided to part ways with him heading into 2018.