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Longoria feels much better, eyes possible return Friday in New York

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was encouraged with how his sore left hamstring felt after going through his regular pre-game routine Thursday afternoon - including hitting in the cage - saying, "Everything feels normal."

Longoria said while running-wise, he's probably still a day-or-two-away in terms of getting up to full speed, he hopes to start Friday at third base against the Yankees, and if not, "definitely" Saturday. But he told manager Joe Maddon he'd be available to pinch-hit today, "just a double will be a single for a day or two."

"I felt pretty good," Longoria said. "I feel a lot more confident than I did yesterday. I feel a whole lot better waking up this morning. I think it's very possible to start (Friday), definitely (Saturday)."

Longoria suffered the injury running to first on a groundout in Tuesday night's game. Longoria, the majors RBI leader and the AL's leading All-Star vote-getter, said a partial cause for the injury could be that he got away from his usual routine when he served as DH for two straight games (while trying to rest his sore arm).

So when he returns, Longoria wants it to be ready to play third.

"When I'm ready to play, I want to be as close to 100 percent as I can be - both physically and mentally, confidence-wise," Longoria said. "I  think if I try to rush back and feel any type of discomfort or don't have full confidence in it, it's gonna be a hindrance to me. But I'm pretty close."


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[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:47am]


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