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Tampa Bay Rays 3B Matt Duffy to begin rehab assignment Friday

The veteran third baseman is nearing his 2019 debut

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Duffy will begin a rehab assignment with the Charlotte Stone Crabs beginning Friday evening, per a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Third baseman Matt Duffy, out since spring training with back and hamstring issues, will start a rehab assignment Friday with the Class A Stone Crabs. He’s slated to play seven-10 days and then be re-evaluated.

The veteran infielder has been plagued by injuries over the past several years, causing him to miss a significant number of games, including the entire 2017 season. Duffy managed to stay healthy — at least off of the injured list — for the majority of the 2018 season, but was admittedly struggling throughout the second half of the season.

Overall last year, Duffy hit .294/.361/.366 with 4 HR over 560 plate appearances, accruing a total of 2.4 fWAR.

Heading spring training, Duffy had bulked up with the hopes of being a consistent performer over the course of the full season, but suffered a hamstring injury early on and then endured a back injury that kept him on the shelf longer. He was placed on the IL once the season began.

Once Duffy returns, Kevin Cash will have some rotating to plan out on the infield with Yandy Diaz having taken over the starting third base job, Daniel Robertson and Willy Adames tag-teaming at short stop, and Brandon Lowe playing well at second.