ST. PETERSBURG — Infielder Sean Rodriguez earned a painful distinction this week he could do without: the first Ray to be stung by a stingray.
Rodriguez was on the beach Monday morning behind his Redington Beach rental condo when he took his 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, a couple of feet into the water for a closer look at some dolphins.
A few steps (and a stingray shuffle or two) later, he saw something flash through the water and felt something on his right heel.
"I actually thought it was a catfish at first, that it grazed me. I didn't think much of it," Rodriguez said. "And then I got out of the water, and I was like whoooaaaa."
Shortstop Jason Bartlett and his 1-year-old son Jaden were with the Rodriguezes and lent an handy assist.
"He heard me screaming and he goes, 'What got you?' and I was like, 'Man, I don't know,' " Rodriguez said. "I was coming out of the water and there was just straight blood shooting out, like a straight line."
Bartlett ran and got a towel to help Rodriguez stem the bleeding, and since neither was sure exactly what to do — and their wives were out jogging — they knew they had better get medical assistance.
"I ran up and called 911 and had the paramedics come out just in case," Bartlett said. "They got there, they looked at it and they're like, yeah, it's a stingray. We were panicking, wondering if they've got poison in them, and they're like just put it in hot water and treat it like a cut."
Aside from the scary-looking trail of blood he left on the beach, Rodriguez, 25, said he was fine and with some padding able to put on his spikes and play. He wound up being needed, replacing Carl Crawford when he was ejected in the fifth.
Having grown up in Miami, he has spent plenty of time in water, has stepped on various things and been stung by jellyfish, but this was his first encounter with a stingray.
Maybe, he theorized, it was karmic convergence because he and his cousin had been fishing another day, accidentally hooked a ray and had to cut the line.
"I think that guy went to his buddies and said, 'Hey I've got a hook in my mouth, it's time for payback,' " Rodriguez said. "It got me."