Evan Longoria pulled off rehab assignment following setback with hamstring

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The Rays were hoping that Evan Longoria would be ready to return at some point this week, but his rehab is now on hold following a setback with his partially torn left hamstring.

Longoria, who began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Saturday, was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the third inning last night. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays said Longoria didn’t want to push it after feeling soreness as he ran to first base.

Longoria later wrote on his Twitter account that it “wasn’t a reinjury” and that he just “didn’t want to end up doing further harm.” However, he will rejoin the Rays today in D.C. and is now sidelined indefinitely.

Longoria was batting .329/.433/.561 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .994 OPS in 97 plate appearances prior to the initial injury in late April. The Rays have gone 22-21 during his absence and currently sit at 37-29 on the year, four games behind the surging Yankees in the American League East.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.