ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have been on the record as saying that they don't want to overwork Evan Longoria, who came off the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon reaffirmed that on Wednesday.
Maddon said he plans on taking day-by-day steps with Longoria, who is serving as the team's designated hitter until his hamstring heals enough to allow him to play in the field at third base.
Tampa Bay's midweek series with Toronto concludes with a day game on Thursday, following Wednesday night's matchup. The biggest factor as to whether Longoria is good to play in the series finale is how much baserunning he does.
"The day game, we've talked about, may be more difficult in and of itself," Maddon said. "We'll see how difficult the game is [Wednesday], and if he is on the bases, that probably definitely puts him on the bench tomorrow."
Henderson Alvarez is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays on Wednesday, and Longoria has had success against the righty in the past, making the decision more difficult for Maddon.
"Without trying to re-break him, I think it may be wise to not play him [Thursday]," Maddon said. "Let's watch how it happens tonight, how much there's activity on the leg, and then we'll make our best call."
Maddon shuffled Wednesday's lineup after scoring four runs against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, leaving third baseman Ryan Roberts and shortstop Elliot Johnson out. He said it was largely dictated by the pitching matchup.
Jeff Keppinger, who is batting .311 on the season, was slated to play third in Roberts' place after Roberts has struggled to a .111 average in 11 games since joining the Rays.
"With [Longoria] being the DH, it really would reduce [Keppinger's] involvement, so I wanted to keep Kepp involved," Maddon said. "I think he's swinging the bat well."
Maddon added he expects Roberts to start hitting better and that both Keppinger and Roberts could play the field together, with Keppinger at third and Roberts at second.
Feeling better, Scott could go on rehab assignment
ST. PETERSBURG -- In another positive development for the Rays on the injury front, designated hitter Luke Scott took live batting practice and did his full routine before Wednesday's game with the Blue Jays.
On the 15-day disabled list since July 21 due to an oblique strain, Scott said he feels fine and is ready to face velocity, whether it is in a rehab assignment or not.
"Today was much better than [Tuesday] as far as discomfort or any tightness," Scott said Wednesday. "Everything is free and easy, and today was a good day."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he believes Scott would be fine to go on a rehab assignment, but had to discuss it with the training staff.
The 34-year-old Scott said his biggest test would be getting his timing right to hit a fastball. Once he has that set, he should be fine to return.
Scott is currently on the disabled list for the second time this year and said he didn't want to rush back from the injury and hurt it further.
"Your heart and mind tell you: 'Hey, get back. You need to get back now,'" Scott said. "But wisdom and my gray hairs say I gotta come back when I'm ready. It doesn't do me any good to come back if I'm not ready, it doesn't do the team any good."
Whenever Scott is ready to return to Tampa Bay, there may be a logjam for playing time. He has played almost exclusively as a designated hitter in 2012, but Evan Longoria, who came off the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, may not be ready to play the field, either.
Scott, who had offseason shoulder surgery, may not be ready to throw a baseball, especially with his current oblique issue. He said that when he is ready to play the field again, it would likely be at first base and not left field, which he has also played in the past.
Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.