There's a chance that Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria could return by the middle of next week if his left hamstring responds favorably when he puts it to the test this weekend for the Triple-A Durham Bulls.

Longoria, who will miss his 41st game Friday night with a partially torn left hamstring, will be the Bulls' designated hitter on Saturday then play third base on Sunday. Infielder Jeff Keppinger, rehabbing broken right big toe, will play the infield tonight for the Bulls and DH on Saturday.

Rays Manager Joe Maddon said before Friday night's game with the visiting Marlins that he wasn't sure of Longoria's schedule, but said there would be a meeting Tuesday to talk about when the All-Star can return to the big club.

"We had talked about it, pretty much running it through Tuesday and then having a discussion with (Longoria and Keppinger) and seeing how they are feeling and what people are seeing from the other side," Maddon said. "I'm not overly concerned with Longo's number of at-bats or throwing the ball. He's been doing all that, baseball activities; batting practice, throwing, fielding ground balls, he's fine.

"It's about being on his leg, running the bases, sliding possibly. Those are the areas he needs to be tested in."