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Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro described as fine after leaving game against Oakland Athletics with injury

ST. PETERSBURG — Dioner Navarro went through a series of tests and was released from Bayfront Hospital on Saturday night, with his agent saying the catcher's going to be fine after getting hit in the head with a foul ball and would even like to play today.

Both agent Kendall Almerico and the Rays said they don't expect Navarro to land on the disabled list, but he will be re-evaluated today.

Manager Joe Maddon said Navarro was struck on the side of his face/jaw area by a foul ball in the seventh off the bat of the A's Jack Cust and was "woozy," sitting on the ground for several minutes while getting attended to by the training staff.

SET IT UP: The Rays rotation to begin the season's second half will look a lot like the first, with opening day starter RHP James Shields starting Friday in Kansas City. LHP Scott Kazmir is second, between Shields and RHP Matt Garza, who tend to go deeper into games.

LHP David Price will be in the No. 4 slot before RHP Jeff Niemann. Maddon said he believes Price will begin lasting longer in games, which is why there's less concern than earlier this season about spacing them out.

MIXUP: There was some confusion, and an ejection of Maddon, after a play in the ninth in which the Rays' Michel Hernandez was initially called for a catcher's balk, advancing Matt Holliday to third. It was later clarified as an error on Hernandez, who touched the ball with his mask after blocking a pitch in the dirt. A catcher's balk is only called when he leaves his designated area before the pitch. Maddon agreed with the ruling after watching the replay.

MINOR MATTERS: Maddon said backup C Shawn Riggans will begin a minor-league rehab assignment this week in Port Charlotte, starting at DH in his first game. Riggans has been out more than seven weeks with right shoulder tendinitis. … RHP Andy Sonnanstine was placed on the 7-day DL in Triple-A Durham due to mononucleosis.

RARE FEAT: The two-run homer LHP Randy Choate gave up to Adam Kennedy in the seventh was the third he has allowed to a lefty in 326 career at-bats, a rare off night for him and the entire bullpen. "No bullpen is going to be perfect," he said. "It just stinks when it happens."

ALL-STAR INFO: The Rays' All-Star contingent will leave after the game today on a chartered jet to St. Louis, carrying the 12 uniformed personnel and their families, plus PR director Rick Vaughn. They'll also give a lift to Oakland All-Star closer Andrew Bailey and trainer Steve Sayles. … Rays OF prospects Desmond Jennings (United States) and Kyeong Kang (World) will be playing in today's All-Star Futures Game.

CROWD CONTROL: Saturday's crowd pushed the Rays season total over 1 million to 1,006,985 through 44 dates, the earliest they've done so since 1998 (34th date).

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro described as fine after leaving game against Oakland Athletics with injury 07/11/09 [Last modified: Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:35am]
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