ST. PETERSBURG — Rays OF David DeJesus could only laugh at how he got the fractured left hand that sent him to the 15-day disabled list Thursday. It wasn't from Tuesday night's hard collision with the leftfield wall. It was one routine swing at the plate the next night.
"It was just a random swing," DeJesus said.
The injury happened in his last at-bat Wednesday, when DeJesus checked up on a pitch up and away from the Orioles' Tommy Hunter and felt that something was wrong.
DeJesus sustained an avulsion fracture, with the ligament beside his ring finger separating from the bone. He'll keep it in a splint for three weeks before the Rays reevaluate him. The team has not set a timetable for the return of DeJesus, who was third on the team in slugging (.440) and tied for fourth with five home runs.
The Rays replaced him by activating OF Brandon Guyer from the DL. Guyer, who batted .262 in 28 games before his injury, made a key defensive play in leftfield Thursday against the Astros. He finished 0-for-4 but scored on C Ryan Hanigan's sacrifice bunt in the fourth.
Manager Joe Maddon said he hasn't decided how to fill DeJesus' semiregular spot at DH but started Matt Joyce there Thursday.
Balfour bounces back: Former closer Grant Balfour didn't get a save opportunity Thursday, but he still came through in the ninth, striking out the side in his only inning.
"Little more emotional," Maddon said. "That's who he's been."
In four appearances since losing the closer title by allowing five runs in the ninth to Seattle, he has given up only one run and two hits with five strikeouts.
Balfour's only hiccup came when he threw a fastball after Hanigan called for a slider. Hanigan threw his mitt up just enough to avoid taking a hard hit.
"I think he's just a little amped up," Hanigan said.
Price time: LHP David Price enters tonight's start as the majors' first pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters in three consecutive games since James Shields did so in July 2012. Price will have a different challenge, facing the Astros in back-to-back starts, but said he'll take the same approach because he doesn't believe in stashing secrets to show opponents later .
"I'm not good enough to not show somebody something and try to go do my best," said Price, who allowed three runs in eight innings Sunday. "I'm not going to make any adjustments until they make me do it (tonight) during the game."
Minor matters: After missing his last start because of tightness, RHP prospect Nate Karns struggled in his 2⅔ innings Wednesday, giving up eight runs on eight hits for Triple-A Durham. Manager Charlie Montoyo will represent Durham as the International League's manager for the July 14 Triple-A All-Star Game.
Draft breeze: The Rays agreed to terms with their third-round pick, Evergreen (Colo.) High LHP Brock Burke, for $900,000, well above the slot value of $544,900. Burke had signed to play collegiately at Oregon.
Miscellany: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) said he plans to make his third rehab start Sunday for Durham. He'll likely make another one after that before rejoining the Rays. … RF Kevin Kiermaier's four homers in 26 career games are tied with Evan Longoria, Elijah Dukes and Bobby Smith for the most in that span in club history. … Seminole Tribe rainmaker Bobby Henry returned to Tropicana Field on Sunday and apparently found an area of concern. "We've addressed it," Maddon said. "We'll see how it plays out."
Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at email@example.com.