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Souza feels good after live batting practice

NEW YORK -- Rays rookie outfielder Steven Souza Jr. took live batting practice on Friday afternoon for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list with a left hand fracture, and the results were promising.

"It was great," said Souza, who went on the disabled list on Aug. 2. "Everything checked out better than we expected. So headed down to [Triple-A] Durham today.

"But there was no soreness. No soreness anywhere in my swing. No fatigue in the swing. No fatigue in my hand. So everything looked great and better than expected."

Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton said Souza looked good.

"That ball came off his bat hot," Shelton said. "Swing looks good. Now it's just a matter of timing because of the time he's missed. BP is a little different than getting velocity and breaking balls."

Souza will join Durham for its final three games of the season, serving as the designated hitter on Saturday and Sunday before heading for right field on Monday. After that he will either head to Class A Advanced Charlotte to join the Stone Crabs, or he'll join the Rays in Detroit.

"We'll reevaluate [after Monday's game] to see if I need some more ABs," Souza said. "Port Charlotte's in the playoffs and then I'll head to Detroit if I'm ready to go."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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