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Myers heads Rays' trio nearing return to duty

Myers heads Rays' trio nearing return to duty

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielders Wil Myers and David DeJesus, along with catcher Ryan Hanigan, are getting closer to returning to the field, manager Joe Maddon said on Friday.

"Moving forward, you're gonna get Wil back, you're gonna get Ryan back, you're gonna get DeJesus back," Maddon said. "So we've got some freshness going into September."

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Maddon said that the eventual returns of Myers, DeJesus and Hanigan will affect the team's dynamic "only in a positive way."

Myers (right wrist fracture) is currently rehabbing at Triple-A Durham, where he is batting .444 (4-for-9) with a grand slam in three games with the Bulls. It's possible that he could return by the end of the Rays' current homestand, although Maddon said Myers would let the team know when he's ready.

"The biggest thing with him is getting more comfortable timing baseballs. He just needs to see more pitches, more at-bats," Maddon said. "The one thing about Wil, he's gonna be brutally honest with you about how he feels, and that's a good thing right now."

The Rays don't want Myers pushing to come back too soon, Maddon said. With the Rays' slim margin for error, that wouldn't help anyone.

"We don't need somebody coming back here, playing himself into playing shape right now ... so they go out there and take 15 at-bats and are lost," Maddon said. "We can't have that right now. We need to know when you come back that you feel like you can really contribute right now.

"There's no, 'Well, in a couple of weeks I'll be OK.' No. We've got to have it now. So it's important that he takes the time that he needs, and that when he feels like he's able to compete here and contribute, then he's ready to come back."

DeJesus (left hand fracture) will head to the Gulf Coast League on Saturday to begin his rehab process, then move on to Class A Advanced Charlotte on Monday.

"I'm heading down tomorrow to get some at-bats, and I see the end of the tunnel coming right now," DeJesus said Friday. "Start at DH tomorrow, and then it'll be DH, DH, day off, start playing the field. I think we're gonna go over that when the time comes. But tomorrow I'm DH-ing, so that's a start."

DeJesus was still at Tropicana Field on Friday, when he took batting practice before Tampa Bay's series opener against the Yankees. He and Maddon both said there is not yet a specific plan or timeline for his return.

The same goes for Hanigan, who has been dealing with a nagging left oblique strain. Maddon said the catcher was "feeling a lot better" Friday, but that he didn't have anything specific about his return timetable.

"We want to get him moving along right now, too," Maddon said. "Curt [Casali's] done a wonderful job. But Hanny's here for a reason, too, and when he's ready to go, he'll be back in there."

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

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