After missing six weeks due to a partially torn left hamstring, Evan Longoria is finally ready for game action.
According to Adam Berry of MLB.com, Longoria will join Triple-A Durham tomorrow to work out with the team and will serve as the designated hitter on Saturday. He was cleared for a rehab stint after running the bases prior to today’s game against the Mets.
There’s no clear timetable for his return, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times last week that Longoria would likely spend 7-10 days on a rehab assignment.
Longoria, 26, was batting .329/.433/.561 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .994 OPS in 97 plate appearances prior to the injury. The Rays have gone 20-20 during his absence.
Jeff Keppinger, who is currently on the disabled list with a broken big right toe, is also scheduled to play in rehab games this weekend with Triple-A Durham.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.