Ailing 3B Evan Longoria will not take just one step toward his recovery from a partially torn left hamstring today, he'll take several. And he'll take them all at a pretty good clip, too.
Plans call for Longoria to give his sore hamstring its biggest test since he suffered the injury on May 1 when he runs at Marlins Park under the supervision of the Rays medical staff and likely manager Joe Maddon.
"That will tell us a lot,'' said Maddon, who isn't quite ready to predict when Longoria will return to action. "I don't have an absolute finish line with him. A lot of it is going to be based on how he feels.''
Longoria's running stint comes at a time when the Rays are starting to regain some of their wounded warriors. OF Desmond Jennings returned earlier this week from a sore knee and RHP Kyle Farnsworth is on the brink of a return as well.
Farnsworth has been out since April 6 with a right elbow strain, but the Rays announced Friday that Farnsworth is slated to begin a rehab assignment Monday with Class-A Charlotte.
"Just to get (Farnsworth) out there and get him back on the mound and get him a rehab assignment, it's all good for us,'' said Maddon, whose team recently had 10 players on the disabled list all at once.
"And pretty soon here you're going to get Longo back out there again and we'll have Jeff (Keppinger – broken right big toe) back and Sam (Fuld – right wrist surgery) in center, so we're going to get a lot of acquisitions all at the right time.''
The stunning decision to shut down I'll Have Another on the brink of the Belmont Stakes and its shot at horse racing's first Triple Crown in 34 years hit Rays RHP James Shields rather hard.
Shields' uncle, Jim Jiminez, provided hoof and foot care for the colt, which injured a left leg tendon during its morning workout at Belmont Park.
"It's a shame," said Shields, who visited his uncle and saw I'll Have Another while the Rays were in New York for their series against the Yankees. "It's really sad to be honest with you. He's a great horse.
"I feel bad for my uncle, too. It was a good time for him, but I think they did the right thing by shutting him down like that. You never want to hurt a horse that way."
Like how you've decorated the place
The Rays got their first look at the Marlins new ballpark and Maddon came away impressed with some aspects of it, but not so impressed with some others.
"I like the Dodge Challenger green (outfield) wall,'' he said. "I really dig that. It's Circa 1970 Challenger RT, 440 6-pack, which was a very desirable color.''
One thing Maddon didn't like was the tropical-themed structure in center field that features moving cartoon marlins and lights up whenever a Marlins player hits a home run.
"It's a bit awkward, but somebody liked it,'' Maddon said. "Outside of that (the park) looks pretty cool.''
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been a polarizing figure for as long as he's been a big league manager, and one person who not only respects and likes him but thinks he's good for baseball is Maddon.
Maddon said a chance meeting between he and Guillen in the minutes that followed the Rays victory over Guillen's White Sox in the 2008 AL playoffs stands out.
"I'm walking to the postgame press conference and who's there to meet me but Ozzie to congratulate us,'' Maddon said. "I was really taken by that. I always was a fan of his but that really galvanized it.''
OF/DH Brandon Allen cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Durham. … The Rays have signed three of their 2012 draft picks: 7th-round OF Marty Gantt (College of Charleston), 10th-round LHP Sean Bierman (University of Tampa) and 30th round OF Michael Williams (University of Kentucky). All three will report to Short-A Hudson Valley (New York Penn).