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Rays hope for Sept. 1 Longoria return

Rays hope Longoria returns Sept. 1

OAKLAND -- Optimistically speaking, Jason Bartlett could be back at shortstop by Friday and Evan Longoria back at third by Sept. 1.

Bartlett was hit on his right index finger by a pitch from Detroit's Fernando Rodney on Aug. 3 while trying to put down a sacrifice bunt. Bartlett has since been used as the team's DH but has not played shortstop because he has had difficulty throwing.

"He played catch today ... it's getting better," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not quite ready yet."

Maddon said the team has concerns about Bartlett hurting his arm by trying to do something different while compensating for the pain in his finger.

Maddon said he expects Bartlett to play Friday against Texas.

Longoria fractured a bone in his right wrist when he got hit by a pitch from hard-throwing Seattle right-hander J.J. Putz Thursday night. Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, said the injury could have been a lot worse.

"It's in a fairly good spot in terms of healing," Friedman said. "There's no ligament involvement. I don't know much more about the areas of the wrist to comment more. ... It's at a place where it's reasonable to think that it will heal quickly. ... We were fortunate in that respect."

When asked if Sept. 1 seemed like a reasonable projection for Longoria's return, Friedman answered: "Yeah, that seems reasonable. We'll re-X-ray it and go through that process again. I think it's very reasonable as we're sitting here today. But as everybody knows, bones heal at different paces, and it's too hard to say definitively at this point."

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

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