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.

Here are the final All-Star voting results before the close of balloting

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All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.

Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Javier Baez made a couple of fantastic plays last night

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Javier Baez is a second baseman. He’s played a good bit of shortstop and, if he played for some other teams, he may be an everyday shortstop, but he’s the Cubs’ second baseman.

With Addision Russell out with some shoulder issues, however, Baez got the call at short last night for the Cubs-Nats game in Washington. It was a good call, as he made a couple of spectacular plays in the field.

First up is this highway robbery of Bryce Harper, who thought he had a base hit. It was a good thought, too, as he hit the ball like a dang rocket:

Later, when Adam Lind was up to bat, he fouled one off behind third base. Baez got on his horse and did this:

That inspired Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper to use the old line the great Harry Kalas used about Garry Maddox: “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.” It’s a great line, and aptly used to describe Javier Baez’s Monday night.