Tampa Bay Rays' Dioner Navarro and Matt Joyce suffer injuries

Rays catcher Dioner Navarro has his left thumb examined after being hit by a pickoff throw to first base by Pirates pitcher Jack Taschner. Navarro’s status has not been determined.

GRANT JEFFERIES | Bradenton Herald

Rays catcher Dioner Navarro has his left thumb examined after being hit by a pickoff throw to first base by Pirates pitcher Jack Taschner. Navarro’s status has not been determined.

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays' placid spring is turning painful.

C Dioner Navarro and OF Matt Joyce are the latest players sidelined with injuries with the Rays saying they don't know when either will return.

Navarro left Thursday's game in Bradenton after being hit on his left thumb by a pickoff throw. The Rays said only X-rays were "inconclusive" and he would rest it for a couple of days then be re-evaluated.

"Big, big scare," Navarro said. "It hurts. Hopefully, it's just a contusion and nothing else, I'm out a few days and get back on track."

The throw by the Pirates LHP Jack Taschner hit near the top of Navarro's thumb and snapped it back, causing so much pain Navarro considered not advancing to second.

Navarro and Kelly Shoppach were expected to share playing time behind the plate, and the Rays don't have another experienced catcher.

Joyce had an MRI exam and was diagnosed with a right-elbow sprain after reporting soreness while throwing Thursday morning (it didn't affect his swing).

"Just sore," he said.

Joyce is involved in the most interesting competition of camp, a three-player, two-position battle with INFs Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac for two roster spots. Joyce, who missed time last spring with right-leg tendinitis, said it was "a little frustrating" to be sidelined again: "I'm hoping it feels 100 percent (today), but you never know with these things."

Manager Joe Maddon downplayed both injuries: "I'm not really concerned."

MORE MEDICAL: LHP David Price said his bruised right hand, struck Wednesday by a broken bat, felt fine and it won't disrupt his schedule, which has him throwing next in a minor-league intrasquad game Monday. "I'm good," Price said. "I'm not missing any time." … INF Willy Aybar (left-wrist sprain) put the ball in play in his first three spring at-bats (two lefty, one righty) with no problem.

FIRST CUTS: Promising prospects SS Tim Beckham and LHP Jake McGee plus nonroster C Nevin Ashley were sent out.

The Rays want Beckham, the top overall pick in 2008, and McGee, coming back from July 2008 Tommy John surgery, to get more work on a regular basis in minor-league camp. Both made good impressions while they were here.

McGee, who was optioned, needs to get stretched out because he will be used as a starter. Beckham, who was reassigned, said he felt much more comfortable this spring: "I'll go down to minor-league camp and keep getting better. And hopefully, I'll be here, more than likely, pretty soon."

SORI STORY: RHP Rafael Soriano, the primary offseason acquisition, faced his first hitters of the spring, throwing 28 pitches during minor-league batting practice. The closer, who will work his first game Wednesday, wasn't particularly sharp and allowed a long homer to 1B Matt Fields, who split last season between Class A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.

"It's been a long time," he said. "I didn't feel that good."

Maddon noted the lack of command but was still impressed: "The ball out of his hand was really alive."

GAME DETAILS, PORT CHARLOTTE: First, the Rays beat the Jays 4-1 to extend their team-record spring winning streak to eight. … RHP Andy Sonnanstine rebounded from his rough debut (three walks and 29 pitches in one inning) with four innings in which he allowed one hit, struck out three and threw 49 pitches. Sonnanstine said the biggest difference was calming down. "He just looked like himself," Maddon said. … C John Jaso homered, and SS Jason Bartlett, 2B Ben Zobrist and 3B Evan Longoria rapped consecutive singles in a three-run fifth.

GAME DETAILS, BRADENTON: Then the Rays made it nine by rallying and hanging on for a 16-15 win over the Pirates. … Brignac had two more hits, increasing his majors-high RBI total to 13 and average to .500 (10-for-20). … Rodriguez scored on a single and three-base error when his sharp liner got by CF Jose Tabata and rolled to the wall. … DH Pat Burrell, LF Carl Crawford and RF Justin Ruggiano homered. … RHP Wade Davis had a rough start, allowing five runs in the first, but made an adjustment and posted a scoreless second: "I knew what I needed to do, and I think I'll be able to roll with that." … Former Rays 2B Akinori Iwamura went 0-for-3.

Tampa Bay Rays' Dioner Navarro and Matt Joyce suffer injuries 03/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 12:09am]

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