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Rays starter Garza goes on DL with nerve injury

ST. PETERSBURG — Right-hander Matt Garza's short, but definitely not sweet, Rays home debut delivered a scare to the sellout crowd at Tropicana Field and put the high-energy right-hander in a somber mood.

Garza, the Rays' No. 2 starter while Scott Kazmir is out, went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after leaving the 6-5 loss to the Mariners in the third with radial nerve irritation.

The radial nerve runs from the upper to lower part of the arm and from the back to the front; its functions include wrist and finger extension. Manager Joe Maddon said he had no knowledge of the injury, though Garza said it surfaced late last season, with him typically "pitching through it." But after his hand started going numb, forcing him to lose grip on his pitches, he signaled to the dugout for help.

"This time it was just real bad," Garza said. "I knew something was up."

The severity is unknown, with Maddon saying the club could know more today. After the game, the Rays recalled right-hander Jae Kuk Ryu from Triple-A Durham. Maddon said Ryu will work out of the bullpen, with another starter (Jeff Niemann?) getting called up to replace Garza in the rotation.

Garza had walked two of his last three batters in a three-run third. He waved to the dugout, drawing a conference that included head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield and Maddon. Garza had thrown 70 pitches (40 strikes), and nine of his last 12 were balls.

Times staff writer Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Rays starter Garza goes on DL with nerve injury 04/08/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 1:53pm]
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