ST. PETERSBURG -- Willy Aybar is doing well at Triple-A Durham and will soon be ready to return to the Rays.
Aybar, who was acquired from the Braves in an offseason trade, has been on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain since April 12 and has missed 42 games.
Sunday night against Richmond, Aybar went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored to move his average to .455 (5-for-11) in three games.
"He had a good day [Sunday]," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Swung the bat really well, starting to hit the ball hard. Today's a day off for him. He's taking today off, he's going to play a couple of games, and then we'll have a better idea. We just wanted him to play, take a break, come back and play, see how he feels because he's played several days consecutively. He played yesterday and played really well."
Aybar has played third base, second and first while at Durham. He is out of options, which means if the Rays do not make a place for him on their Major League roster upon his return from the DL, he would have to clear waivers to be sent down to the Minor Leagues.
Ben Zobrist is the Rays' lone utility infielder who can play shortstop, so it's unlikely he would be the player moved if Aybar rejoins the team. Meanwhile, the Rays have Cliff Floyd, Jonny Gomes, Gabe Gross and Eric Hinske as the other extra players.
When asked what the team planned to do once Aybar was ready, Maddon smiled: "We'll know in a couple of days."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.