We heard last weekend that Evan Longoria was close to ramping up his rehab from a hamstring injury, but it turns out that he’s not quite ready.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the team said after last night’s game that Longoria will not resume baseball activities until after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Rays manager Joe Maddon conceded that his return is “not right around the corner.”
Longoria has been sidelined since suffering a partially torn left hamstring back on April 30. The 26-year-old third baseman began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham last month, but he was shut down again after experiencing some discomfort in his second game. He’ll likely need a few weeks to get ready once he resumes baseball activities, so his absence is likely to stretch into August at this point.
Longoria was hitting .326/.433/.561 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .994 OPS in 23 games prior to the injury. The Rays are 29-32 without him and entered today’s action at 44-30, seven games behind the Yankees in the American League East and 1 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.