Longoria feels fine after taking swings, activated from DL

TORONTO -- 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.

Longoria won't be returning to the lineup right away. Rays manager Joe Maddon wants the rookie third baseman to take two or three days of regular batting practice first, meaning Longoria likely will be available only as a defensive replacement until the Rays open a three-game series at New York on Friday.

"I've been wanting to be activated for the last five days, just to be in there and kind of prepare myself mentally," Longoria said after the Rays' 7-4, 13-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. "I don't think it has any bearing on the timeframe [for his return to the lineup]. I think we're still going to be shooting for the first game in New York."

Out since Aug. 7 after being hit by a pitch from Seattle's J.J. Putz, Longoria hadn't swung a bat in four days because of lingering pain in his fractured right wrist.

Before that, Longoria had only been swinging a whiffle-ball bat and a broomstick because the weight of a regular bat was too much for his wrist. That wasn't a problem on Saturday.

"I don't know how much better it could get," Longoria said after his pregame session. "It felt great today."

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.

"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."

The Rays, who have lost four of five, entered play Saturday with a 2½-game lead over Boston in the AL East.

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.