Evan Longoria to begin rehab assignment Thursday, aiming to come off DL early next week

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Evan Longoria has been out since straining his oblique muscle in the second game of the season, but Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that he’s scheduled to begin a brief minor-league rehab assignment Thursday.

Assuming he can avoid a setback while playing at Double-A, Longoria is aiming to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Rays’ lineup next Tuesday.

Tampa Bay has recovered nicely from a 1-8 start, going 10-3 against the Red Sox, Twins, White Sox, and Blue Jays despite Longoria’s fill-ins, Felipe Lopez and Sean Rodriguez, combining to hit just .208 starting in his place.

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.