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Duffy feeling better but won't rush back

@juanctoribio
March 14, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A left hamstring injury has limited Matt Duffy to just one Grapefruit League this spring, but the Rays third baseman remains optimistic about his Opening Day status.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A left hamstring injury has limited Matt Duffy to just one Grapefruit League this spring, but the Rays third baseman remains optimistic about his Opening Day status.

“It all depends if I’m healthy,” Duffy said. “If I’m not fully healthy, or close to it, there’s no use in rushing it. We’re not putting a date on it.”

Duffy said he ran at about 70 percent on Thursday and felt good afterward, giving a thumbs-up as he walked to the field for some hitting work. The Rays are hoping to get him back into games by next week, which will ultimately determine how many at-bats he’ll be able to get this spring.

“There’s a lot of ways to get at-bats in Spring Training,” Duffy said. “We’ll have some live batting practices set up that I can take at-bats before having to run at all.”

Duffy has still been able to get some work in at the plate while taking care of the injury. He’s hoping to get out on the field Sunday to field ground balls.

“We’re ramping up a little slower this time,” Duffy said. “Instead of just trying to jump on it and play within three days.

“I think what we were doing early on [this spring] was adding everything in a day, and then the next day I would be really sore. Now we’re not really basing it on how I feel this day, but it’s a matter of how sore I’m going to be.”

Even with the progress, Duffy understands that there’s a chance he won’t be on the Opening Day roster. If he is set to miss some time, the Rays could opt to add a pitcher to the roster to begin the season. Outfielder Guillermo Heredia could also be an option.

For manager Kevin Cash, there’s still no concern.

“He doesn’t have to have 50 at-bats,” Cash said. “That’s not a concern for us. I think if he clears himself healthy and gets out there enough where he’s been tested, then he’s fine.”

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.