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Tampa Bay Rays' Dioner Navarro ready to return, but Evan Longoria iffy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — C Dio­ner Navarro is ready to rejoin the lineup tonight, but 3B Evan Longoria's status is up in the air and he might not play until Saturday.

Navarro looked good and felt better during an extensive Thursday evening workout at Kauffman Stadium and said he is ready to play for the first time since being struck on the mask by a ball Saturday.

"I don't think one hit in the head is going to make me any crazier than what I am," Navarro said. "I feel pretty good. I'm a little sore in my jaw, but that's about it. I'm ready to roll."

Manager Joe Maddon said Navarro looked "very good" and they'll wait until today "to make sure there are no negative residual effects."

Longoria missed Tuesday's All-Star Game as a result of an infection on the tip of his right ring finger but was confident at the time he would be ready to go tonight.But Maddon said the Rays won't decide until he takes batting practice this afternoon and suggested he might need another day.

Longoria was late getting to Kansas City on Thursday, missing his flight after attending the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, and didn't get seen by the Rays training staff (he wasn't required to be at the workout), though he did get word to them he was feeling better.

"I'd say it's a solid 50-50, maybe 60-40 that he's going to play (tonight)," Maddon said. "If it's not (tonight), I don't think it's more than Saturday at the worst."

MOVING PARTS: Assuming Navarro feels good today, C John Jaso will be optioned back to Triple-A Durham. Jaso was brought up as insurance when the Rays put RHP Grant Balfour on the bereavement list so he could go home to Australia for his grandfather's funeral. Balfour is expected to rejoin the team tonight, though Maddon said he probably wouldn't use him following the long trip.

SWAG OF THE DAY: LHP David Price said the trip to L.A. for the ESPYs was well worth it even though the Rays didn't win anything. He walked the red carpet, did interviews, sat near Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens, Michael Phelps and Serena and Venus Williams. And he got lots of free stuff: electronics, jewelry, clothes.

"It was unreal," he said. "Whatever you wanted you could get."

KEY TO VICTORY: RHP James Shields pitched Sunday's final game before the break, so he'll start tonight on regular rest. But it was anything but a normal routine as he spent the break at a hotel in Key West and did his between-starts throwing on the beach. Shields and his wife, Ryane, were joined by his best friend, Brandon Montmayor, who just happened to be his high school catcher.

"We brought our gloves, went out on the beach and played catch a few times," Shields said.

MISCELLANY: All players required to make the workout did. The five All-Stars were excused. … C Shawn Riggans, recovering from a shoulder problem, is 1-for-8 in three games for Class A Charlotte.

Tampa Bay Rays' Dioner Navarro ready to return, but Evan Longoria iffy 07/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 17, 2009 7:46am]

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