Longoria off to good start after first rehab game

Longoria off to good start after first rehab game

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Evan Longoria said he felt good following the first game of his rehab assignment and will continue his stint with Triple-A Durham after a day off on Sunday.

In his first live action since going on the disabled list on May 1 with a partially torn left hamstring, Longoria went 1-for-4 with a strikeout on Saturday. The Rays' All-Star third baseman, who batted third as the designated hitter, saw 17 pitches in all, taking his best cut in the eighth inning with a single to left-center field.

Longoria said he felt good after his first action back, but he still does not have a timetable as to when he'll return to the Rays.

"I felt good out there," Longoria said. "I was very satisfied with the way I felt. I felt like all my swings were as hard as I could, and I didn't feel any pain or soreness or grabbing. The running was fine. All positive things."

Longoria, who was hitting .329 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 23 games before his injury on April 30, was originally scheduled to play third base for the Bulls on Sunday, but he said the training staff in Tampa Bay and Durham thought it was the best if he didn't play the field. He will still get loose, take batting practice and field ground balls before the game.

Longoria, as well as infielder Jeff Keppinger (toe), will continue their rehab stint with the Bulls on the club's trip to Rochester.

Though Longoria did not run a lot on Saturday, it was pain-free, which is a step in the right direction. The 26-year-old also said his timing at the plate improved as the at-bats wore on.

"It's going to take a few just to get back to where I'd like to be before I get back to Tampa," he said. "But all positive stuff today."

In Saturday's first inning, Longoria popped up on a 1-0 fastball from Lehigh Valley right-hander Matt Wright. He flied out to right field, just shy of the warning track, in his second at-bat before striking out on a 94-mph fastball his third time up.

His final at-bat came against left-hander David Purcey. Facing a 3-1 count, Longoria popped a ball foul to make it a full count. He then lifted a 93-mph fastball to the outfield for his lone hit. Jeff Salazar then came in the game to pinch-run for Longoria.

"I'm not too worried about the results right now, more about the timing," Longoria said. "Just trying to get at-bats, pile at-bats up, see some good pitching. ... All that stuff is really good for me to see some good pitching and just start to feel more comfortable at the plate."

Keppinger, who has been on the DL since May 19 with a broken toe on his right foot, was scratched from Saturday's lineup with soreness. The rehabbing Rays infielder went 1-for-4 with an RBI groundout as the designated hitter on Friday.

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.