ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-handed reliever Juan Oviedo has been in uniform and in the Rays' dugout during the club's current homestand.
"We wanted to keep him attached to the team somehow," Rays manager Joe Maddon said, "and he pointed out to me yesterday that he is 3-0. So you're always welcome here. But that was part of the plan during Spring Training. [Head athletic trainer] Ronnie [Porterfield] and I talked about it in camp, that when we're at home and we can have him here, we should, just to let him become absorbed into the group."
Known as Leo Nunez during his days as the Marlins' closer, Oviedo logged 92 saves from 2009-11 -- eighth most in the Major Leagues in that span -- but he had Tommy John surgery last Sept. 6 and is still in the midst of his recovery.
Maddon said he did not know if Oviedo would be fully recovered in time to pitch for the Rays this season, though he allowed, "I did hear something that the end of the year was possible."
Maddon added: "This guy is going to be a big part of our future."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.