Longoria: "Huge step forward"
3B Evan Longoria was so happy to have hitting coach Derek Shelton actually pitch balls to him to hit in the batting cage Sunday morning that they hugged. Well, maybe not, though Longoria joked, "It was emotional.''
Longoria took 20 or so swings, the first time since straining his left oblique April 2 he was allowed to swing at pitched balls, and said he felt great afterward. "It went as good as it could go, no pain,'' Longoria said. "Huge step forward today.''
Longoria will travel with the Rays to Minnesota, with plans to participate in full batting practice on the field by Wednesday and Thursday, then head out on a rehab assignment. He is hoping for just 2-3 games (and 6-7 at-bats) at Double-A Montgomery, the Rays are still talking about five or so (with 20 at-bats and some time off in between). But under either schedule he is expected to return sometime during the upcoming April 29-May 5 homestand.
"I know I didn't spend that much time in the minor leagues,'' he said, '"but I don't want to go back and spend any more,.''