Evan Longoria hoping to begin rehab assignment this week

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Evan Longoria has been out since early May with a partially torn left hamstring, but the Rays third baseman said today that he’s close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment.

Longoria told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times that he hopes to start a rehab stint by the end of this week and, barring a setback, return from the disabled list by the middle of this month.

Tampa Bay has used five different third basemen in Longoria’s absence, with Sean Rodriguez and Drew Sutton seeing most of the action there recently. With Longoria in the lineup the Rays were 15-8, compared to 16-16 since his injury.