ST. PETERSBURG -- Ben Zobrist went on the disabled list on May 15 with a dislocated left thumb. Fortunately for the Rays, the news appears to be positive for their second baseman, to the point where he could soon be back in the lineup.
"They said that it's doing really well," said Zobrist, who took ground balls on the field prior to Thursday afternoon's game. "Just still trying to get all the swelling out and everything. No pain unless I really bend it hard. Now it's tight, it's a matter of getting the rest of the inflammation and swelling out of there."
Zobrist is hopeful about the next step.
"If everything continues to progress well, they're thinking I might be able to be ready early next week when the team is in Toronto," Zobrist said. "Get some at-bats in Port Charlotte or something, and meet the team in Boston."
Given the Rays' lack of offense, not being able to play has been particularly frustrating for Zobrist.
"It's tough," Zobrist said. "Everybody's doing whatever they can to fix things, because obviously we need to fix some things. All I can do right now is cheer them on and try and do what I can from the bench, try and keep guys thinking positively during this time, because it's been a rough go lately."
Rays manager Joe Maddon did not downplay the idea that Zobrist will be able to return after his 15-day stint is finished.
"You know how he is," Maddon said. "He's going to work his butt off to get back."
Zobrist seemed to be getting his swing in order when he hurt himself sliding headfirst in Seattle.
"That was one of his largest concerns," Maddon said. "He was starting to feel good, [so it was like], 'I got to take a break now.' Of course it would be wonderful to get him back. Sometimes it works in a perversely positive way where a guy catches a break early, and he's stronger at the end of the season. So maybe it's going to work out well for him."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.