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Rays Longoria Off The DL

Evan Longoria was activated off the 15-day disabled list Saturday after the Tampa Bay slugger said he felt “almost 100 percent” following 30 swings with a regular bat.

“I don’t know how much better it could get,” Longoria said. “It felt great today.”

Longoria, out since Aug. 7 after being hit by a pitch from Seattle’s J.J. Putz, had not swung a bat in four days because of lingering pain in his fractured right wrist.

Longoria is hitting .278 with 22 homers and 71 RBIs in 104 games and is considered a leading contender for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

He’ll likely be used as a defensive replacement for the time being, with manager Joe Maddon saying he wants Longoria to get two or three days of regular batting practice before he returns to the lineup.

The Rays have lost three of four, and entered Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays with a 2 1/2-game lead over Boston in the AL East.

Longoria had only been swinging a whiffle-ball bat and a broomstick in the past week because the weight of a regular bat was too much for his wrist. That wasn’t a problem on Saturday.

“I took about 15 swings with the fungo and it felt fine,” Longoria said. “Then I got about 30 swings with the regular bat and it felt pretty much the same as swinging the fungo, which is obviously a good sign.”

Outfielder Carl Crawford, who had surgery to repair a tendon in his right middle finger Aug. 14, visited his doctor in Arizona on Thursday and remains on schedule to return by late September.

“The Doc likes the progress,” Maddon said. “It’s pretty much the same timetable that had been addressed before in regards to being able to see some action by the end of the month.”

A two-time All-Star and four-time AL stolen base champion, Crawford is batting .273 with eight homers, 57 RBIs and 25 steals.

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