Evan Longoria a success in leadoff spot as Rays shut out Indians

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Seeking to pull his third baseman out of a slump, manager Joe Maddon shifted Evan Longoria to the leadoff spot in the order Saturday.  He went 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk his first game there and then went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks Sunday in a 7-0 win over the Indians.

Jeremy Hellickson blanked the tribe for seven innings to earn his fifth win in six starts.  He’s a prime Rookie of the Year contender with a 6-3 record and a 2.80 ERA this season.

Longoria was just 6-for-45 with one RBI in 12 games before moving up in the lineup Saturday.   He’s reached base seven times since.

The Rays also got a contribution from last year’s leadoff man in this one.  John Jaso, who has mostly hit eighth and ninth this year, went 2-for-4 and hit a two-run homer off Justin Masterson.

Phillies sign Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies signed pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal. If he is added to the major league roster, he’ll earn $750,000 prorated.

Alvarez is still only 27 years old but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 due to shoulder issues. He signed with the Long Island Ducks last month, making seven starts and posting a 3.94 ERA with a 13/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.

The Phillies learned that Vince Velasquez will undergo season-ending surgery and also placed Zach Eflin on the 10-day disabled list, so the club is just looking for pitching depth to help take them through the end of the season. Any innings that Alvarez is able to handle will be considered a bonus.

David Wright is going to play in a real game tonight

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Mets third baseman David Wright will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A St. Lucie. He’ll be the DH.

Wright has been sidelined since May of 2016, first with a cervical disc herniation and, more recently, a shoulder impingement. He has appeared in just 75 games since his last full season in 2014. Wright is under contract through 2020 and is owed $47 million after this year. For now insurance is picking up a large portion of that.

It’s possible he’ll make a return to the Mets before the season out as the competitive portion of their year is basically over and giving him a chance to see big league pitching before he begins what one hopes is a normal offseason might be a good confidence boost. What meaningful role he ever plays in the big leagues again, however, is decidedly up in the air.