ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Rays stay at Tropicana Field for a three-game series against the Marlins beginning Friday night, third baseman Evan Longoria and infielder Jeff Keppinger will join Triple-A Durham to begin rehab assignments.
Longoria (partially torn left hamstring) will use Friday as a workout day while Keppinger (broken big right toe) serves as the Bulls' designated hitter. On Saturday, Keppinger will play the field and Longoria will be Durham's DH.
Both players ran the bases before Thursday's 9-6 loss to the Mets. Manager Joe Maddon said he was pleased with the progress they're making but has no timetable for their return.
"Just conversationally, I was encouraged, too. They're not far off," Maddon said. "Just to maintain our position within the standings, and we have been able to, when all these guys start to get well and people start getting back to where they're supposed to play and playing as often as they should, I think we'll get nice and toasty at that point."
Longoria has been out since May 1, and the Rays have managed to go 20-20 without their All-Star third baseman. Maddon said Longoria will get the extra workout day Friday simply because he ran Thursday, and if both he and Keppinger were on the field Friday, one would have to play defense right away.
"With his injury, it's a little bit more difficult than Keppinger's," Maddon said. "Having them both in the same spot, we thought it'd be OK to start it that way."