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08/18/08 6:25 PM ET

Rays hope to have Longoria back soon

Rookie third baseman could return to team by Sept. 1

ST. PETERSBURG -- Although Evan Longoria declined to specify an exact target date, manager Joe Maddon confirmed on Monday that the Rays are still hoping the rookie will return to the team around Sept. 1.

"Should be, hopefully, the beginning of next month," Maddon said, reiterating the date the club set upon the initial announcement of Longoria's right wrist fracture.

The 22-year-old Longoria has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 11, although the injury was suffered when he was struck by a pitch in an Aug. 7 game at Seattle. Longoria said the game's adrenaline initially made the injury appear minor and he was grateful that the Rays uncovered the fracture after a second set of X-rays in St. Petersburg.

"The stiffness that's there now wasn't there before," Longoria said of his wrist. "Like I said, I think it just took the time to set in and now I've just got to wait for it to heal."

Sporting a sling for his wrist, Longoria acknowledged it had been hard to sit and watch games on TV and track scores on his cell phone while the team wrapped up a 10-game road trip. But the Rays rookie will continue to exercise caution in his return.

Although Longoria was the Rays' leader in home runs (22) and RBIs (71) at the time of his injury, on Monday he praised the team's bench play, and specifically his backup, Willy Aybar.

"I try not to be too worried about the situation of the team," Longoria said. "Because somebody's going to step up and do the job. And when I'm ready, I'll be back.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.