PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Evan Longoria continues to take the cautious approach as far as the recovery from his right hand injury is concerned.
He's taking "dry" swings -- which translates to simply swinging the bat -- but he is holding off on making the progression to live games from there. That progression will see him eventually advance to hitting the ball off a tee, then hitting flip tosses, and, ultimately, taking live batting practice before playing in a game.
"I've always been a better game player than practice [player]," Longoria said. "There's definitely a gear shift when I get into the games. So I want to see that part of it. I want to get back into actual competition, instead of just taking batting practice and ground balls. It's very different."
While it is taking more time than originally expected for Longoria to get back into action, the Rays' All-Star third baseman does not view his injury as a setback.
"Obviously, I wouldn't wish it upon anybody, and I wouldn't want it to happen again. But like I said in the beginning, it's part of the game," Longoria said. "Thankfully, we're not in the beginning of April, the beginning of the season, like we were last year. Get it right, now. It's not really a setback.
"I've been working out baseball-wise for a month and a half now. Had this been the same time and I hadn't done anything, it might have been a setback, because now I'm waiting another week to get back out there and work out. It's just part of it, and I'm excited to get back when I can. I'm going to try and push every day, and see what I can do."
Longoria wants to have the problem completely cleared up before making his return, but he doesn't believe his return will be delayed much longer.
"I feel like once I get in there and start hitting again, it's going to be pretty quick for when I get back in [action]," Longoria said.