PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays C Nick Ciuffo was carted off the field Thursday after being struck on the head by a backswing after a foul tip knocked off his facemask and helmet, leaving his head unprotected.
The incident occurred in the seventh inning with the Orioles' D.J. Stewart, a left-handed hitter, at the plate. The bat caused a laceration to the right side of Ciuffo's skull.
"He got hit really hard," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Ciuffo remained motionless on the dirt for several moments while the Rays' major league medical coordinator Paul Harker and Cash rushed to his side. He was bleeding from the wound and entered the concussion protocol.
"It's unfortunate," said Cash, a former catcher. "You don't want to see that happen, especially to a young player that we want to see get some reps."
Ciuffo failed his second drug test this past offseason for using marijuana and will begin the season with a 50-game suspension.
Union has concerns with Rays
Union chief Tony Clark told reporters Thursday in Bradenton that the Players Association had enough "concerns" about how the Rays and three other low-payroll teams were spending their revenue-sharing money to file a grievance but would not share any specifics.
"I'm not going to get into any of the particulars," Clark said. "I would simply offer that we have some concerns and look forward to addressing those concerns."
The union filed the grievance last Friday, claiming the Rays, Athletics, Pirates and Marlins failed to comply with collectively bargained rules requiring revenue-sharing money be used "in an effort to improve its performance on the field."
The gray area is teams are not limited to spending it on big-league payroll, allowing for investments in other areas.
All four teams denied they were in violation and MLB said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times that it considered the grievance to have "no merit."
RHP Jake Faria struggled during his second outing of the spring, throwing 37 pitches in two innings. The problem, he said, was he did not work fast enough.
"I was thinking way too much," he said.
Jesus Sucre, catching for the second straight day, homered for the first time this season. LHP Jonny Ventures pitched his second scoreless inning of the spring. RHP Chih-Wei Hu pitched two scoreless innings.
Quote of the day
"That's not bad. It'll take that one."
C Jesus Sucre, on being scheduled to DH on Friday after catching three innings Wednesday and four innings Thursday
• 3B Matt Duffy (back spasms) was moving better Thursday but did not work out on the field.
• SS Adeiny Hechavarria (hamstring) and 1B Brad Miller (broken toe) might not play until after Monday's off-day.
• INF Ryan Schimpf started in rightfield as the Rays look to increase his role as a utility player.