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Rays' Pena leaves with tight hamstring

First baseman Carlos Pena is listed as day to day for now.

Associated Press

First baseman Carlos Pena is listed as day to day for now.

MINNEAPOLIS — 1B Carlos Pena left Thursday's game against the Twins in the fourth inning with what the Rays labeled "right hamstring tightness."

Though the left-handed slugger is listed as day to day, the injury comes at a tough time for a club that already has had 10 players land on the disabled list this year.

Pena has played in every game, hitting .179 with a team-high six home runs. On Thursday, Pena batted twice, going 0-for-2, including a groundout in the fourth. On that play, he felt discomfort on the back of his right leg, and manager Joe Maddon pulled him for precautionary reasons.

Pena said after the game he felt fine, and both he and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield are optimistic it's not a serious issue. Maddon said if all goes well, there's a chance Pena could play today against the White Sox.

"I went over my speed limit," Pena said with a grin. "And my leg let me know."

Eric Hinske, who replaced Pena defensively at first base, could fill in if Pena misses a start. RF Nathan Haynes, who hit for Pena in the cleanup spot against the Twins, delivered a two-run single in a four-run fifth inning.

Pena, 29, is coming off a career season in which he hit 46 homers and was named American League comeback player of the year.

NAVARRO TAKES CUTS: Dioner Navarro (finger cuts) had six at-bats Thursday at extended spring training, three from the right side, three from the left. His next step is catching for seven innings at Class A Vero Beach today, when ace LHP Scott Kazmir (left elbow strain) makes a rehab start. Navarro is scheduled to DH on Saturday and catch seven innings Sunday, when RHP Matt Garza (radial nerve irritation) has a rehab start.

Maddon said that if all goes well, Navarro could return during next week's series at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, Tuesday through Thursday against the Blue Jays.

VERO ARMED: Vero Beach should have a rare rotation this weekend, with Kazmir throwing three to four innings today (45 pitches) and Garza's stint Sunday (four innings, 60 pitches). Maddon said there's a chance Garza could return to the big leagues next Friday, but the Rays want to see how Sunday's start goes.

SALAS SHOWS: RHP Juan Salas, who had been stuck in the Dominican Republic for the past few months, reported to St. Petersburg on Thursday and threw a bullpen session. Maddon said the reliever was in the mix for a bullpen spot, but missing the entire spring has cost him.

Though the club has 30 days before it has to remove him from the restricted list, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said it can be a theoretical substitute for spring training, and the Rays won't necessarily keep him on the list that long.

"Physically, he looks great," Friedman said. "Now it's just a case of building up his arm strength and getting him in a position to go compete against hitters. We'll have a better feel for when he'll be ready to do that in seven to 10 days."

Rays' Pena leaves with tight hamstring 04/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2008 11:49am]

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