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Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach may need knee surgery

Kelly Shoppach, out with a sprain in his right knee, might also have torn cartilage. Surgery wouldn’t be major but would require a long rehab.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Kelly Shoppach, out with a sprain in his right knee, might also have torn cartilage. Surgery wouldn’t be major but would require a long rehab.

BOSTON — C Kelly Shoppach could be sidelined perhaps until the All-Star break pending possible surgery on his right knee next week.

Shoppach returned to St. Petersburg for a Monday appointment with Dr. Koco Eaton facing what the Rays said is the "possibility" of surgery.

There was also bad news about OF Matt Joyce, who was recalled from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham due to lack of progress in his recovery from his right elbow strain.

Shoppach has been sidelined since sustaining what the Rays called a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee April 11, but there is also the possibility of torn cartilage. Though the surgery is not major, the rehab and recovery period is considered longer for a catcher given the demands on his knees.

"It's still pretty sore, pretty stiff those kind of things," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course he's kind of a tough guy, and he's going to tell you he's going to be ready in 10 days or two weeks, that's just who he is. But we want to make sure about it, so we wanted to send him back and try to really finalize exactly what it is and how long it's going to take."

Shoppach was acquired to share starting duties with Dioner Navarro, and an extensive absence could be troubling as the Rays don't have an experienced backup, with John Jaso making his second career big-league start — and seventh appearance — Saturday night.

Joyce has been sidelined since spring training with a right elbow strain that prohibits him from throwing hard, and thus limiting him to DH duties. He will return to St. Petersburg and continue his rehab at Tropicana Field under supervision of the Rays training staff, though at this point is not scheduled for further medical exams.

"We had to pull him back and become a little more conservative with the rehab, so they brought him back to St. Pete to modify it a bit or back off a bit," Maddon said.

He acknowledged it was a setback and that "of course he's behind schedule with getting his arm well" but said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield still believes "it's a matter of time, and it's just going to take more time."

POPA PAP: The Sox were without closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was attending to the Saturday late afternoon birth of his son, Gunner Robert.

MINOR MATTERS: Jose Lobaton, who may be next in line if the Rays need another catcher, was promoted from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham, with C Craig Albernaz going the other way. … RHP Winston Abreu had his fourth consecutive scoreless relief appearance at Triple-A Durham on Saturday.

MISCELLANY: LF Carl Crawford extended his successful stolen base streak against the Red Sox to 29 with a first-inning steal of third in the scheduled game. … Pat Burrell's suspended-game winning homer was his seventh career extra-inning homer and his first homer at Fenway Park since a June 27, 2004, shot off Curt Schilling. … The Rays will face a tough trio of pitchers in Chicago — John Danks, Mark Buehrle (he of the July 2009 perfect game) and Jake Peavy.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach may need knee surgery 04/17/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 18, 2010 1:18am]
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