Evan Longoria to begin playing in rehab games on Thursday

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Forget about all of that almost ready talk.

According to beat writer Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has been cleared to embark on a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday evening with the Triple-A Durham Bulls. He packed a bag on Wednesday and announced to reporters before departing the visitors’ clubhouse at Baltimore’s Camden Yards that he was excited to “finally get to play baseball again.”

Longoria has been on the shelf since May 1 with a partially torn left hamstring. He’ll likely appear in four rehab games at Durham before returning to the Rays’ starting lineup by the middle of next week.

The 26-year-old third baseman was hitting .329 with a .994 OPS in 23 games before suffering the injury.

Manuel Margot exits game with apparent wrist injury

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Padres outfielder Manuel Margot was pulled from Friday’s game after sustaining an injury on an attempted catch in the eighth inning. Margot laid out in center field to snare Cesar Hernandez‘s double, but appeared to injure his left wrist in the process. Little is known about the precise nature or severity of the injury so far, but Margot underwent an evaluation following the incident and should have a clearer picture of his recovery timetable soon.

It’s a disappointing turn of events for the 23-year-old outfielder, who finished the game batting .245/.312/.365 with 25 extra-base hits and a .677 OPS through 312 PA. This isn’t the first time he’s been sidelined with wrist issues this season; he hyperextended his left wrist on another diving catch back in mid-May, though he managed to successfully avoid the disabled list (and a lengthy setback) after taking a few days off. It’s not clear whether he’ll be that lucky a second time.

An unforeseen result of Margot’s departure in the eighth: The Padres were forced to insert catcher A.J. Ellis in left field for the first time, as they had already cycled through their remaining options on the bench. Ellis, whose last tryout in the outfield came during a two-inning stint in Double-A back in 2007, didn’t get the chance to show off his defensive chops, however, as Wil Myers gloved the inning-ending out several minutes after Margot was removed from the game. The Padres dropped their series opener to the Phillies, 11-5.