As noted by MLB.com’s Jake Kaplan, Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his first minor league rehab game on Saturday evening with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.
Longoria is getting the day off Sunday but will resume his rehab assignment on Monday night and should be back in the bigs within the next 7-10 days.
“I felt good out there,” Longoria told reporters after Saturday’s debut. “I was very satisfied with the way I felt. I felt like all my swings were as hard as I could, and I didn’t feel any pain or soreness or grabbing. The running was fine. All positive things. … Just trying to get at-bats, pile at-bats up, see some good pitching.”
The 26-year-old has been sidelined since tearing his left hamstring on the last day of April. He’ll return to the .329/.433/.561 batting line, four home runs and 19 RBI that he cultivated in 23 games before the injury.
The Rays are currently 36-29, three-and-a-half games back of the Yankees in the American League East.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.