Navarro escapes without serious harm

Published July 7, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - C Dioner Navarro escaped Thursday's violent collision with Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett with only a bad headache and could return to the lineup Sunday.

Navarro was in pain and very dizzy and had blurry vision after banging his jaw on Beckett's left shoulder, but he said X-rays and a CAT scan at Massachusetts General Hospital showed no damage.

"I'm fine now, " he said before Friday's game.

The three hours Navarro and head trainer Ron Porterfield spent at the hospital, and the teasing Navarro got from his teammates, sounded like more of a problem. It was the second time in a month Navarro was taken to a hospital, having been hit in the throat by a bounced pitch June 8 in Miami.

"I'm getting tired of the emergency room, I swear to God, " he said. "Especially in Boston. That place was busy as hell."

After being released, Navarro, still in uniform, and Porterfield took a cab to Logan Airport, where the Rays' chartered flight was waiting for them.

Navarro was a bit surprised to hear that Beckett, obviously a better pitcher than a doctor, had told Boston reporters that he had heard the jaw was broken.

"He likes the way he goes about his business, you know, so he can say whatever he wants, " Navarro said. "He got me pretty good. He's a big boy. I'm glad that I'm fine right now and it's nothing really serious."

SENSE OF URGENCY: Executive VP Andrew Friedman said he expects to see fewer mental mistakes as their young players learn the "nuances" necessary to win close games.

"Getting these guys that experience is invaluable, but we're getting to the point where we've got to start focusing on the 'now, ' " he said. "And I believe we have a lot of those pieces in place to do so."

REHAB REPORT: Having been delayed by leg soreness, a fever and rain, CF/2B B.J. Upton played again for Class A Vero on Friday, going 1-for-2 with a walk. If there are no problems with his previously strained left quad, he will rejoin the Rays on Thursday.

Backup catchers Josh Paul and Shawn Riggans are getting closer to returning. Riggans (right elbow) started rehab Friday with Vero, and Paul (left elbow) could start one next week and return in late July.

Closer Al Reyes (right shoulder strain) played light catch Friday and is doing better.

MINOR MATTERS: Because Durham RHP Jeff Niemann will pitch in, and may start, Sunday's All-Star Futures Game, he was dropped from the International League All-Star squad. Durham OF Justin Ruggiano took his place for Wednesday's game in Albuquerque, N.M. ... Class A Columbus OF Desmond Jennings won his second Rays minor-league player of the month award, hitting .378 in June with 13 steals, 18 RBIs, 20 runs and an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.102. ... RHP Wade Davis was named the top pitcher, going 1-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four starts between Vero and Double-A Montgomery.

MISCELLANY: Maddon expects pitching coach Jim Hickey - out since surgery June 25 to repair a detached retina - back today, and they'll set the post-All-Star break rotation. ... Thursday marked the first time since 2004 the Rays were swept in three straight series. ... Delmon Young leads all rookies with 48 RBIs, and his 94 hits are 10th most by a rookie at the All-Star break during the past 25 years.

Fast Facts:



Since the Rays began play in 1998, there have been 35 losing streaks of 10 or more games, and the Rays have had six of them. Thirteen teams - including the Red Sox and Yankees - have not had one. The list:

19 Royals, 2005

15 RAYS, 2002

14 D'backs, 2004

13 Pirates, 2006

13 Royals, 2006

12 Orioles, 2004

12 Brewers, 2004

12 RAYS, 2004

12 Mets, 2002

12 Orioles, 2002

11 Mariners, 2006

11 Mets, 2004

11 Tigers, 2003

11 Tigers, 2002

11 Brewers, 2001

11 Rockies, 2000

11 Phillies, 1999

11 Angels, 1999

11 Marlins, 1998

11 Marlins, 1998 (yes they did it twice)

11 RAYS, 1998

11 Reds, 1998

10 Astros, 2007

11 RAYS, 2007

10 Braves, 2006

10 Brewers, 2006

10 Rockies, 2005

10 Tigers, 2003

10 Orioles, 2001

10 RAYS, 2000

10 Orioles, 1999

10 Marlins, 1999

10 Orioles, 1998

10 RAYS, 1998

10 Twins, 1998

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer