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Rehabbing Evan Longoria eyes midweek return to Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — 3B Evan Longoria could return as early as the middle of next week if all goes well during his weekend rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham, manager Joe Maddon said Friday.

Longoria, who has missed the past 41 games with a partially torn left hamstring, is scheduled to be the DH tonight for the Bulls then play third base Sunday.

INF Jeff Keppinger (broken right toe) started at DH on Friday and finished 1-for-4 with an RBI. He will play the field today.

Maddon said both players will be re-evaluated Tuesday, when the Rays open a three-game series with the Nationals.

Maddon said initially Longoria would need a 7-10 day rehab assignment, but it appears it might not be that long.

"It could be sooner," Maddon said. "After Tuesday, we'll know, and if there is any kind of hesitation, then it will be about seven days. It could be possibly less if everything goes well."

Maddon said he's not overly concerned with Longoria's number of at-bats or his throwing because he has been doing baseball activities for a few weeks. Maddon said the key is Longoria being on his leg, running the bases and sliding.

"Those are the areas he needs to be tested in," Maddon said.

Maddon said it's similar for Keppinger, though he is "on a faster track."

Peña'S WALKS AND RUNS: 1B Carlos Peña tied a career high with four walks, and he tied another career mark by scoring each time.

"When he's walking, he's hitting because what he's doing is accepting his walks and narrowing it down to pitches he can really do something with," Maddon said.

Peña, who entered Friday second in the AL with 44 walks, grounded out in his final at-bat. He became the first player with a four-walk, four-run game since the Reds' Jonny Gomes in August 2010 against the Cubs. The last American League player with that stat line was the Rays' Cliff Floyd (Aug. 14, 2008, against Oakland).

GOMES RECALLED: The Rays recalled RHP Brandon Gomes from Durham to fill the roster spot of DH Luke Scott, who went on the DL Thursday with back stiffness.

In Triple A, Gomes was 4-0 with a 0.39 ERA in 18 relief appearances, including eight scoreless games in a row. Before being optioned to Durham last month, he allowed four earned runs in five appearances.

Maddon said Tampa Bay opted to replace Scott's bat with a pitcher to replenish a drained bullpen. Entering Friday, the Rays starters had failed to last more than six innings in five of their past seven games.

Gomes pitched a scoreless ninth Friday, walking the first batter and striking out the next three.

MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow strain) felt good after his second rehab appearance Thursday for Class A Charlotte, throwing one shutout inning on 10 pitches, including incorporating a few cutters. Farnsworth will pitch again Monday for Charlotte and still expects to return for the start of the final homestand of the month (June 28-July 4).

APPEAL DENIED: MLB upheld the official scorer's ruling from Wednesday, denying the Mets' appeal to have RHP R.A. Dickey's one-hitter against the Rays become a no-hitter. The Mets sought to have B.J. Upton's first-inning single changed to an error on 3B David Wright, who tried to bare-hand the two-hopper.

"I'm fairly relieved that it ended up the way it did," said Dickey, adding there would have been "an asterisk by it bigger than the no-hitter itself."

SUNDAY TICKETS: About 2,000 tickets are left for the Father's Day game against the Marlins. ZZ Top, Gretchen Wilson and Three Doors Down will perform a concert after the game.

Rehabbing Evan Longoria eyes midweek return to Tampa Bay Rays 06/15/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 16, 2012 12:23am]
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