Hanigan, DeJesus close to returning to Majors

Hanigan, DeJesus close to returning to Majors

TORONTO -- The Rays could soon return a pair of players from the disabled list in time for the stretch run of the year.

Catcher Ryan Hanigan (left oblique) began a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Charlotte on Friday, while outfielder David DeJesus (left hand) also suited up with the Stone Crabs for the second time in three days.

Hanigan, who has been out since July 8, suffered a setback when he initially began a rehab assignment in early August and had to be shut down. But with his oblique feeling better, he's set to work his way back from the injury that has cost him more than a month of action.

The 34-year-old backstop, whom Tampa Bay acquired in a three-team deal in the offseason, shouldn't need more than a handful of games before returning to the lineup.

"He's getting really close," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "As long as there's no setback, three of four days maybe. We have to get him playing fully in a game situation before we can really make that decision. But if everything goes well, it shouldn't be that long."

DeJesus, meanwhile, is set to play his second rehab game with the Stone Crabs. He experienced soreness in his fractured left hand during a recent game with Tampa Bay's Gulf Coast League affiliate, but he also appears set to rejoin the Rays soon.

Maddon said the Rays will likely take it a little slower with DeJesus, which would allow him to receive about a week's worth of at-bats in the Minors before getting activated. The 34-year-old, who hasn't played since June 18, is likely to return once rosters expand on Sept. 1, allowing the Rays to bring him back without having to make a corresponding move.

"He might be closer to the actual roster expansion," Maddon said. "He has been out a long time, and his situation is a little bit different being an outfielder and a designated hitter."

Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.