Evan Longoria to begin playing in rehab games Saturday

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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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.