Matt Duffy

Matt Duffy
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Matt Duffy unlikely to play until mid-May

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Rays third baseman Matt Duffy is no longer scheduled to return to the lineup when the club goes on the road next month. Duffy told reporters Sunday that his hamstring strain and back injury will keep him off the field until mid-May at the earliest.

It’s an unfortunate setback for the 28-year-old, who battled similar hamstring issues last year and missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Achilles tendon surgery. This spring, Duffy appeared in just four Grapefruit League games and went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts while battling discomfort in his left leg. Additional tests revealed that the back pain he’d also been experiencing for the last several months was not only related to his hamstring issue, but preventing it from healing.

It’s not yet clear if Duffy will stay on track for a mid-May return, especially given the setbacks he’s encountered thus far, but the Rays would undoubtedly be happy to see any production from the infielder that approaches the .294/.361/.366 batting line, 12 steals, and 2.4 fWAR he served up in 2018. For now, however, they’re set with Yandy Díaz and backup infielder Daniel Robertson at the hot corner.