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Souza, Smyly progressing as 2nd half nears

ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Smyly and Steven Souza Jr. are both progressing, and expectations are high for the second half.

Smyly's season appeared over when he went on the disabled list with a torn left labrum on May 9. Now he appears back on track for a return to the team this season, perhaps in August.

Smyly threw a bullpen on Saturday. On Sunday, Rays manager Kevin Cash had good things to say about him.

"Everybody was raving about [Smyly's bullpen]," Cash said. "He felt good about it. Curt Casali caught it, said it was outstanding, and [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield] said, 'Very good.' So he's progressing well. He'll throw a bullpen, then he's scheduled to throw a live BP Thursday in Port Charlotte."

Earlier this week, Matt Silverman, Rays president of baseball operations, expressed optimism to reporters that Smyly could return in August.

Souza had to leave last Sunday's game with the Yankees after getting hit by a pitch from right-hander Bryan Mitchell on the pinkie of his right hand. He came away with a deep laceration that required three stitches. He finished running the bases and scored in the Rays' four-run eighth, but he did not return to the field to play defense.

Video: [email protected]: Souza Jr. shaken up on HBP, stays in

Souza went on the disabled list on Tuesday, retroactive to Monday.

Sunday he swung the bat, taking 25 swings at flip toss, 25 dry swings, and 25 batting practice swings, and he reported feeling fine.

The earliest Souza can return would be for the Phillies series after the All-Star break. The Rays open the second half at Toronto. If all goes well for Souza, he will be back with the team when they play at Philadelphia beginning July 20.

"Everything we're hearing is very, very good," Cash said. "He should be good to go when he's ready."

Souza plans to continue swinging during the break and allowed that a rehab assignment before his time on the DL passes would make sense.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Steven Souza Jr., Drew Smyly