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Longoria activated, likely won't start for a few days

Evan Longoria isn’t likely to be in the starting lineup until next weekend’s series.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Evan Longoria isn’t likely to be in the starting lineup until next weekend’s series.

TORONTO — 3B Evan Lon­goria rejoined the active roster for Saturday's game but is targeting Friday for his more important return to the lineup.

Longoria may be used for late-inning defense or pinch-running for the next few days as he continues his recovery from his fractured right wrist.

"I've been wanting to be activated the last five days just to be in there and prepare myself mentally," Longoria said. "I don't think it has any bearing on the time frame. I think we're still going to probably shoot for the first game in New York."

Longoria, out since being hit by a pitch Aug. 7, crossed a significant threshold Saturday when he swung a regular bat with "just very, very minimal pain," but he has further tests coming.

He will hit balls off a tee, and perhaps some lightly tossed, today, then if there are no problems advance to batting practice Monday in Boston, then again the following two days.

"Big, big day" Saturday, Lon­goria said. "It's as good as it's felt ever. It's almost 100 percent."

Longoria said before Saturday's game that he thought if the team continued to struggle, his return might be accelerated, but manager Joe Maddon said "this is a totally medically related situation."

GLOVE MAN: How big was SS Jason Bartlett's run-saving and, at the time, game-saving diving stop of Gregg Zaun's grounder and throw in the ninth? "Bartlett came out of nowhere," Zaun said. "Had things not worked out how they did, they would've been talking about that play instead of my home run."

SHIELDS UP: Starter James Shields did what he usually does: give up a few runs and keep the Rays in the game. Saturday, he allowed a run-scoring double in the first and solo homers to Lyle Overbay in the second and fourth and worked through the eighth. "Typical," Maddon said. "He just kind of grinds it out."

MORE MEDICAL: LF Carl Crawford remains on schedule for a possible limited-action return (defense, pinch-running) the final week of the regular season. He had a good checkup Friday in Arizona on his recovery from Aug. 14 surgery to repair a tendon problem in his right (nonthrowing) hand.

RESTING UP: Bartlett was supposed to get the day off but played the final 5½ innings. Maddon is considering giving 2B Akinori Iwamura today off and plans to start C Shawn Riggans (with Matt Garza pitching) and rest Dioner Navarro.

MISCELLANY: RHP Jeff Niemann allowed a run on two hits and struck out 11 in eight innings as Triple-A Durham beat Louisville 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five International League series. … The Rays have lost back-to-back series for just the second time this season. … It was Troy Percival's fourth blown save but the first time the Rays lost in 34 games he entered in save situations; he also left three due to injury. … C John Jaso made his major-league debut, grounding out as a pinch-hitter in the 13th. … Ben Zobrist played three positions in a three-inning span, going from shortstop to leftfield to third base. … Maddon gave up the DH to put Rocco Baldelli in rightfield for the 13th. … Baldelli's ninth-inning homer was his first pinch-hit in eight tries. … Zaun came into the game 0-for-21.

Longoria activated, likely won't start for a few days 09/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 8, 2008 9:59am]
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