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Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach has knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

BOSTON — C Kelly Shoppach will be out at least 4-6 weeks after surgery on his right knee.

Shoppach saw Dr. Koco Eaton on Monday, and the decision was made to proceed immediately with arthroscopic surgery to repair his torn meniscus.

Spokesman Rick Vaughn said the Rays won't know the full length of Shoppach's absence until he progresses with his rehab. He could be out until the mid-July All-Star break.

Rookie John Jaso will be the primary backup to Dioner Navarro. Jaso made just his second major-league start Saturday but impressed manager Joe Maddon with his work behind and at the plate.

Under daily early morning tutelage from bullpen coach Bobby Ramos during spring training, Jaso overhauled his catching style, switching to a more athletic position to receive the ball.

"He's a different guy than I saw the first couple days of camp," Maddon said. "What you saw (Saturday) night — caught well, received the ball well, blocked the ball well, worked some good at-bats. But primarily he caught a good game."

Maddon described it as Jaso switching from a comfortable to a more functional stance: "It may have been comfortable, it may have felt good, but it wasn't going to work that way."

Jaso put it much simpler: "Getting my butt elevated a little more."

ROAD WORK: Sometimes, when LHP David Price is pitching really well, it's easy to forget he is just 24 and has made only 26 big-league starts. But there are things he needs to do better, such as improve on the road, which he hopes to address starting tonight in Chicago.

In 14 games (13 starts) at Tropicana Field, he is 9-3, 2.96.

In 16 games (13 starts) elsewhere, he is 3-4, 5.08.

While most of his stat splits are similar, one big difference is in home runs: six allowed in 79 home innings, 13 in 78 road innings.

"I feel like I pitch the same. Obviously I have the same intensity and everything like that, it's just a little different. You have to get used to that mound. It looks different because the backstop's a different length. It's everything. You're outside. There's a lot of different factors that go into it."

GOING TO THE MATT: RHP Matt Garza is the first AL pitcher to open a season with three consecutive outings of working at least eight innings and allowing one earned run or fewer since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1991, who went on to an 18-10, 2.62, Cy Young season.

Garza became the third Rays pitcher to win his first three games of a season, joining a slightly less impressive list that includes RHP Doug Waechter (August-September 2003) and RHP Victor Zambrano (March-April 2004).

MINOR MATTERS: Triple-A Durham RHP Jeremy Hellickson was named International League pitcher of the week for his 2-0, 1.29 start with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.

MISCELLANY: LF Carl Crawford extended his successful stolen base streak against the Red Sox to 31, last caught in September 2005. … DH Pat Burrell had three hits, extending his hitting streak to six games and matching his Rays high. … SS Jason Bartlett snapped his careerlong 0-for-14 skid with three hits. … The Rays swept a four-game series on the road for the fourth time, previously at Baltimore (September 2008, May 1998) and at Kansas City (July 2000). Their only previous sweep at Boston was a two-game set June 30-July 1, 1999. … The Rays are 2-0 in Patriots' Day games, having won 4-1 in 1999.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach has knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks 04/19/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 19, 2010 8:38pm]
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