Greg Luca of MLB.com provides the following update:
Evan Longoria took what manager Joe Maddon called a positive step forward during a pregame workout on Tuesday in Baltimore, giving hope that the third baseman could begin a rehab assignment during the team’s current nine-game road trip.
“He was pleased, and I was pleased watching him. Nice progress,” Maddon said. “He may be a little bit closer than you think to being out and doing something and coming back to us.”
Longoria has been on the disabled list since early May with a partially torn left hamstring. He was only supposed to miss 4-6 weeks, but he felt renewed discomfort in mid-June and has been delayed ever since.
The 26-year-old third baseman was batting .329/.433/.561 in 23 games before suffering the initial injury.
Tampa Bay entered play Tuesday with a 49-47 record, ranking third in the American League East standings.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.