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.

Blue Jays could move Jaime Garcia to bullpen

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Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are considering moving starter Jaime Garcia to the bullpen. If they go that route, Sam Gaviglio would start in Garcia’s place on Sunday against the Angels.

Garcia, 31, has struggled to a 6.16 ERA with a 56/31 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. Gaviglio, meanwhile, has a 3.75 ERA with 35 striekouts and 11 walks in 36 innings across six starts and two relief appearances for the Jays this year.

Garcia inked a one-year, $10 million contract with the Jays in February. The deal includes a club option for the 2019 season worth $10 million with a $2 million buyout.