Appreciative Daniel Nava makes Rays debut (w/video)

Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Daniel Nava (7) lines out to right to end the second inning of the game between the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 7, 2015. WILL VRAGOVIC  |  TIMES
Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Daniel Nava (7) lines out to right to end the second inning of the game between the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 7, 2015.WILL VRAGOVIC | TIMES
Published August 8 2015
Updated August 8 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — After spending parts of the past five seasons with Boston, newly acquired OF Daniel Nava is certainly familiar with a Rays-Red Sox rivalry that has been testy at times.

"I'm sure there are guys who had worse thoughts," Nava said.

After playing 49 games against the Rays in his career, Nava said he appreciates being in the other clubhouse at Tropicana Field, not having to face Rays pitchers. He entered Friday with a .206 batting average at the Trop, his fourth-lowest average among stadiums he's played in multiple times.

"I'm glad they're giving me a chance to play," Nava said. "Obviously I've seen them a lot. They're always a challenge to face, whether it's pitching or grinding games out. I'm grateful I'm on this side. We're close in the playoff hunt. That's fun to be a part of."

Thumb injuries have limited Nava to 30 games this season, including his Rays debut Friday night, when he started in rightfield and went 0-for-2. Nava has only played three games since May 25 and said he's still trying to regain his form.

"I'd be lying to say that I feel like I'm completely locked in," Nava said. "But there's only one way to get out there and get back to where you think you can be."

SHAFFER AT HOME: INF Richie Shaffer said he spent part of Thursday's off day reflecting on his first series in the majors so he can start focusing on the game itself.

"I got those three games in — the wide-eyedness will hopefully calm down," said Shaffer, the Rays' 2012 first-round pick. "Just get back to playing."

Shaffer didn't start but was nonetheless excited for his home debut; he said he wasn't sure when to arrive, so he got to the Trop at noon — about two hours earlier than some of his teammates.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Steven Souza Jr. said he felt as if he was starting to click at the plate before being hit by a pitch and fracturing his left hand last week.

"It stinks, you know?" Souza said.

Souza is scheduled to get an X-ray in three weeks and will likely miss 4-8 weeks. Souza said he has to be cautious with his return, because doctors have told him that if he comes back too quickly, he would risk damage that could follow him for the rest of his career.

"I just don't want to do something to hurt it down the road," Souza said.

MORE MEDICAL: OF Desmond Jennings (left knee bursitis) was scratched from his rehab start due to misty conditions at Triple-A Durham. Manager Kevin Cash said Jennings still has a few more hurdles to clear, including sliding and stealing a base during a game. … Cash said LHP Drew Smyly (torn left labrum) threw well and with good velocity in Thursday's 74-pitch rehab assignment. Smyly will throw another bullpen and will likely make his fourth rehab start Tuesday.

CESPEDES REMATCH: Although tonight's starter, RHP Nathan Karns, has never faced the Mets, he's quite familiar with one of their players. CF Yoenis Cespedes, who was traded from Detroit to New York last month, blasted a 419-foot home run off Karns in their last matchup.

"You can say I'm familiar with him, especially that last at-bat," Karns said. "Hopefully I get a quick chance to redeem myself."

MISCELLANY: LHP Matt Moore started with four perfect innings (and five strikeouts) in Durham before allowing his first hit. … SS Asdrubal Cabrera was back in the Rays' lineup — and showed no ill effects — after being hit in the head with a throw Wednesday.

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