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Returning Evan Longoria doesn’t sound 100 percent, but worst is behind him



Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There is reason to rush back. The season is 60 games, a stroll to the corner store in the baseball world. It will be here and then it will be gone.

Evan Longoria, even if he is not 100 percent after a moderate right oblique strain, does not believe he is rushing back because of the flip side.

“In a shortened season like this year, I wouldn’t rush back and go out there just for the possibility of reinjuring it right away,” said Longoria before he made his 2020 debut Thursday against the Padres at Oracle Park.

He knows that an expedited return and then a setback could mean his season would be over as soon as it started. But he does not believe he can reinjure his oblique, and thus a player who has not seen live pitching in his rehab is right back in there, facing righty Dinelson Lamet the first day that he could be activated from the injured list.

Longoria admitted there will be soreness, saying, “I’m as healthy as I’m going to get at this point.” He has been rehabbing for about a week and a half, with baseball activity the past three or four days, he said over Zoom, as he saw pitches from machines.

Beyond his oblique holding up, the question will become whether his timing will be there right from the start.

Asked if it’s normal to be playing after not seeing live pitching, Longoria said: “Nothing about this year is all that normal.

“There’ll be a little bit of a process. When we came back to summer camp or wherever you want to call it, we didn’t really have much time to work back into it, and I felt like my at-bats were pretty good at the start of that. … I’m putting a lot of faith in myself and being able to go out there and compete right away. There definitely will be a small adjustment period.”

Longoria believes the worst with his oblique is behind him. As Alex Dickerson could tell him, these injuries can be tricky, can linger and can be painful.

“I definitely feel like I’m at the point where I can play as free as I want to play,” said the Giants’ No. 5 hitter and third baseman, whom they have missed.