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08/26/08 7:00 PM ET

Longoria on pace for September return

Rays rookie hopes to be ready for series against Yanks

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays are one step closer to regaining All-Star rookie Evan Longoria, as the 22-year-old has been cleared to test his fractured right wrist in baseball-related activities.

"He's still not 100 percent well yet," manager Joe Maddon said. "But he's coming along nicely."

Following Monday's X-ray, Longoria said team hand specialist Dr. Carlan told him everything "looked good" and the rookie was still aiming for a Sept. 1 return date.

"There's a lot less pain than there has been in the past week," Longoria said. "And that's a big plus. And I can do pretty much anything. I'm just tentative to put it to full bore yet."

Prior to Tuesday's game, Longoria did the "sock drill," which enables a player to throw full strength and not retrieve the throw. Although he has been hesitant to get back in the cage, Longoria said he wasn't worried about getting his swing back.

"I just want to be pain free when I start swinging," he said. "I don't think the swing has gone too far. I'm not worried about my at-bats. I just need to get it where it's comfortable to swing."

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. The game's adrenaline initially made the injury appear minor and the Rays didn't uncover the fracture until a second set of X-rays were taken in St. Petersburg.

Longoria was the Rays' leader in home runs (22) and RBIs (71) at the time of his injury and as of Tuesday is still the League's top rookie in homers and extra-base hits (51).

Although Willy Aybar has done an admirable job filling in -- batting .290 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over that stretch -- Longoria would be a huge boost for the upcoming series against the Yankees, which starts Sept. 2.

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