The Saturday afternoon test run that Evan Longoria gave his partially torn left hamstring went just the way Tampa Bay Rays third baseman thought it would. Now Longoria is hoping his aggressive plans for a rehab assignment have a similar result.
After taking about a dozen runs around the bases at a near game-speed pace at Marlins Park, Longoria said he's planning to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday or Thursday and hoping for a return to the Rays' lineup a few days after that.
Longoria is not going to make that call, though. Those decisions will be made by the Rays' medical staff and Manager Joe Maddon and Longoria admits he may have to get into a bit of a tug of war with them to get his way.
"It's a struggle between me and them sometimes," Longoria said. "And I understand that their job is to be cautious and get me back to stay for the whole year, but that's definitely my goal, too.
"We've been going back and forth as far as when I'm going to come back and play and I think the goal now is we're going to go back home, run the bases again on Tuesday and if that is all fine and good, hopefully I'll go out (on the rehab assignment) after that."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he agrees with Longoria's timetable for the rehab assignment but he has no plans to push his All-Star third baseman in an effort to get him back a few days sooner than everyone would like.
"We're interested in playing the last game of the season this year and winning it, and we're not going to do it without him so it's really important that we be patient and follow the practices that permit him to be there when we need him most," Maddon said.
Whenever the rehab assignment begins, Longoria believes it will be a short one. He said he's been swinging a bat for about three weeks and won't need much time to regain his rhythm at the plate.
"Last year, when I went through (injuries) with my oblique, I felt like that was a harder thing to come back from because for the better part of four weeks, I didn't swing at all," Longoria said.
"In that case I needed the at-bats to get myself back into a rhythm. With this, I really haven't missed too much on my feet swinging. So I've just been trying to voice my opinion that the shorter (the rehab stint) the better.
"The goal for the rehab assignment is, in my opinion, to be able to tell myself and everybody else that after nine innings, the legs are good and I'm healthy enough to get through a full game and recover well and feel fine to play the next day."