Evan Longoria hoping to begin rehab assignment Friday

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Evan Longoria has been gradually increasing his workouts this week and his partially torn left hamstring has responded well enough that a minor-league rehab assignment is right around the corner.

Greg Zeck of MLB.com reports that Longoria could see his first game action as soon as Friday if he can avoid a setback while testing the hamstring by running Thursday.

Tampa Bay has handled Longoria’s absence well, going 20-17 without him in the lineup despite the third baseman getting off to an excellent start before the injury. Will Rhymes and Sean Rodriguez have been splitting third base duties in his place, so even if he’s less than 100 percent healthy initially Longoria will be a huge upgrade.

Nathan Eovaldi to start Game 3 for the Red Sox

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last night that Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello was previously lined up to start that game, but he was used in relief in last night’s game. Not that Eovaldi is chopped liver. Indeed, he’s coming off seven innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks in his Game 3 start against the Yankees in the ALDS.

Houston will go with Dallas Keuchel in Game 3, followed by Charlie Morton in Game 4. That is, “unless Armageddon hits and we have a historically long game,” said A.J. Hinch yesterday.