Longoria returns (sort of) as Rays face Jays
UPDATE, 12:45: The Rays went ahead and reinstated Longoria from the DL just prior to Saturday's game, though he will be limited to playing defense and pinch-running.
- - - -
Saturday was a big day for 3B Evan Longoria.
First, he joined the Gator Nation and was proudly declaring his college football allegiance for UF.
Secondly, he swung an actual, full-size major-league quality bat with no problems from his fractured right wrist.
Longoria said it felt as good as it ever has, and he is eager for the next step in his recovery, which will be hitting balls off a tee on Sunday, and maybe some tossed balls.
If that goes well, he could take his first live batting practice on Monday in Boston, which will be the key test. If he has no problems then, he likely will have to do it again the next day, and could return to the lineup on Wednesday in Boston or Friday in New York.
Longoria also made a pitch to be activated sooner, saying he could be available for late inning defense or pinch-running.
The Rays go after the Jays today without SS Jason Bartlett, who is getting a day off. 2B Akinori Iwamura may get the Sunday off as manager Joe Maddon looks to rest his middle infielders before the final stretch.