Floyd may return on Saturday

Floyd may return on Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Cliff Floyd could be back in the batter's box at Tropicana Field as early as Saturday night.

After Friday night's 2-0 win over the Angels, the Rays activated Floyd, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 9 following surgery on his right knee. Outfielder Nathan Haynes was designated for assignment to make room for Floyd.

Floyd took an extended stint in the batting cage prior to Friday night's game, with manager Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman, the team's executive vice president of baseball operations, carefully watching every swing. The veteran slugger worked up a sweat while hitting one line drive after another.

The Rays did not post their lineup until late Friday night, which fueled speculation that Floyd would start, but he did not.

"But that was nice," said Maddon of Floyd's hitting display. "He's swinging the bat really well. He's not inhibited by the knee or anything."

Though Floyd is now available to play, he likely will not start on Saturday night with left-hander Joe Saunders starting for the Angels.

"To me, it's like I'm ready," Floyd said. "The team's playing pretty good. ... I want to get back. It's been four weeks today. I just want to get back to my boys. I want to feel like I'm contributing in some way."

Floyd said that the four weeks he's been out have felt like longer.

"Because from the second week of rehab, I felt like I was ready," he said. "I wasn't, but I felt like I was, mentally. Physically, it was just dragging on. So in my mind, it feels like a little longer than I wanted it to be."

The Rays signed Floyd this past offseason to a one-year Major League contract with a club option for 2009. Floyd will make $2.75 million in 2008, with a chance to make up to $2 million in bonuses based on plate appearances. The deal includes a team option for 2009 at the base compensation he establishes in 2008 (which ranges from $2.75 million to $4.75 million, depending on where he falls in regard to his bonus), with the chance to earn an additional $2 million and a $250,000 buyout.

Prior to the injury, Floyd was hitting .333 with two home runs and five RBIs in four games.

Haynes was hitting .227 with no home runs and three RBIs in 19 games.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.