Duffy expecting to resume running soon

Duffy expecting to resume running soon

ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Duffy looked at ease working out at Tropicana Field prior to Friday night's Rays-Blue Jays contest.

"How's the new turf?" a reporter asked the Rays' shortstop, who began the season on the disabled list.

"I like it," Duffy said.

That's a good thing for the Rays since he's expected to play a lot of shortstop this season, and comfort is important since he's returning from surgery.

Duffy arrived at Spring Training expecting to be ready to play by mid-March. That forecast did not come to fruition. His recovery from left-heel surgery has dragged longer than Duffy and the Rays had hoped.

Duffy has been involved in a myriad of baseball activities of late, and he acknowledged that he's "feeling great." The next hurdle for him to clear is running. Once he begins to run -- and not have any pain -- he'll soon be ready to make a return to the Rays.

Duffy said the expectation is that he will run for the first time once the team returns from its upcoming road trip to New York and Boston.

The Rays acquired Duffy in the four-player trade that sent Matt Moore to the Giants on Aug. 1. He took over as the Rays' shortstop after the deal and did not make an error in 18 games (55 chances and 153 innings) at the position. He hit .276 with a home run and seven RBIs before having season-ending surgery in Charlotte, N.C., to remove the bursa from the heel and debride the bone abnormality.

To say the Rays are looking forward to Duffy's return would be an understatement. When manager Kevin Cash was told that Duffy expected to run once the team returned from the road trip, Cash smiled: "I can't wait. I'll run with him."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.