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Souza resumes activities, on track to play next week

Outfielder sustained intercostal strain at start of camp
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Steven Souza Jr. has resumed baseball activity after suffering an intercostal strain to his left side prior to the opening of camp.

Souza began swinging a bat on Sunday.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Steven Souza Jr. has resumed baseball activity after suffering an intercostal strain to his left side prior to the opening of camp.

Souza began swinging a bat on Sunday.

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"I took some dry swings, and everything checked out really good," Souza said. "[Head athletic trainer] Ron [Porterfield] has done a really good job of making sure to hit our check marks, and [we haven't had] speed bumps."

Souza noted that he has taken dry swings with a short bat and a regular bat.

"No ball. I envision the ball coming in."

He has also swung a foam weighted bat in the swimming pool.

As for going forward ...

"I think the plan for my first game is to play next week," Souza said. "I won't play this week. I feel great right now. I'm probably ready to go. But like I've said the whole time: It's a process. And so there's no need to rush it right now.

"I think we'll end up with the same amount of at-bats as if I'd started Day One. I mean, the reality of the first week is you only play three innings, get two ABs and play every other day. I'm only going to miss a couple of games."

Souza does not view his situation as a setback.

"You prepare yourself all offseason," Souza said. "I think I came in pretty prepared. I feel confident about getting back in there. Obviously, nobody likes standing on the side. But I don't think it will be a setback. It's definitely a slowdown. I think it's going to be a blessing in disguise to just slow down and get back in there and take my time."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays