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Navarro plays through pain

Rays C Dioner Navarro wore a heavy wrap around his right wrist before Monday's game against the Red Sox. The wrist hurts so much, the switch-hitter hit right-handed against RH starter Curt Schilling.

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published September 11, 2007


BOSTON - Rays C Dioner Navarro wore a heavy wrap around his right wrist before Monday's game against the Red Sox. The wrist hurts so much, the switch-hitter hit right-handed against RH starter Curt Schilling.

Navarro said he hurt the wrist fouling off a pitch in his last at-bat Sunday, and he even struggled to swing from the right side Monday. After striking out in his first at-bat, Navarro sacrificed twice.

"For me to do that and face Schilling from the right side, you figure it out," Navarro said. "I've never done that in my career. Since I was having trouble swinging the bat, I wanted to help out the team in other ways."

Navarro started with LHP Scott Kazmir on the mound. Veteran backup Josh Paul, who typically catches Kazmir, was out with lower back stiffness.

"I don't know how it's going to be tomorrow," Navarro said. "This morning it was killing me."

ONE OF THESE MEN HAS CLASS: Rays 1B Carlos Pena responded to a New York newspaper column that mentioned his comeback season in the same breath as Cardinals OF Rick Ankiel and Blue Jays 3B Troy Glaus, both reported to have received illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Asked about New York Daily News columnist Bill Madden's Sunday column, Pena was quick to mention that he hit 27 homers in 2004 and that his success is rooted in a better mental approach at the plate.

"Power's never been an issue to me," Pena said. "I'd rather be oblivious to all the negative stuff. I'd rather focus on the positive, have fun and be thankful for all the blessings. Let's just leave it at that. I don't have any control over what people think. I know I can sleep at night."

ROCCO REDUX: There was a locker for injured CF Rocco Baldelli in Fenway Park's visiting clubhouse, but no Baldelli.

Manager Joe Maddon said there are still plans for Baldelli to join the team in Boston or possibly when it heads to Seattle this weekend. He said he didn't know what Baldelli's role would be, but he was content with Baldelli simply being with the team.

"We're working on it to see if we can get him up here," Maddon said. "I'd like to have him here, even if it's just taping ankles. I just want him here to be involved in the group. He's a great team guy."

VELANDIA JOINS TEAM: The Rays selected INF Jorge Velandia's contract from Triple-A Durham, adding much-needed depth but taking away Durham's starting shortstop as the Bulls open the International League finals tonight.

"I wasn't expecting anything," said Velandia, who last played in the majors in 2003. "It was all about winning the ring."

MINOR MATTERS: Ace RHP Heath Rollins allowed two runs, one earned, in six innings to lead Class A Columbus to a 5-2 victory over West Virginia (Brewers) in the South Atlantic League championship series opener.

MISCELLANY: With three hits, Delmon Young has hit safely in 15 of his past 17 games. He is hitting .378 in that span. ... Rays RHP Andy Sonnanstine said he's entering tonight's start much more confident after pitching well at Fenway and Yankee Stadium. "Now it seems like everything is downhill," he said.