Tampa Bay Rays
Navarro's days with Rays could be numbered
TORONTO - With C Kelly Shoppach on a rehab assignment with the Durham Bulls and with C John Jaso getting the bulk of the playing time, C Dioner Navarro could be looking at his final days with the Rays, at least for the foreseeable future. Shoppach could return to the Rays as early as next week, and with Navarro hitting .184 with no home runs and four RBIs and with a minor-league option, well, someone has to go. "I can't control that," Navarro said before Monday's game at Rogers Centre. "I know he's coming, I know he's (in Durham) doing his thing, but I can't control that. I can only control what I can do. I know the starters like to throw the ball to me." Navarro called the first two months "frustrating," especially since one of his goals was to improve his hitting."It isn't the ideal year, but we still got a long time, and Jaso's been doing such a great job that I guess it's hard for me to discuss (playing time) with somebody," he said. "But the team is winning, and I'm part of the team, so I keep working hard, keep doing what I'm doing to be ready for when I play. That's the bottom the line. You always hear me say, 'control the controllable,' and that's the only thing I can control." This is the first time Navarro has not been the everyday catcher since joining the Rays. Jaso, one of the potent bats in the Rays' slumping offense, started his 24th game Monday. He now has the same amount of starts as Navarro. "I've been through a lot in my life. I've been through worse things than this," he said. "It's frustrating. My opportunity will come and I will try to get the best out of it." RF Matt Joyce (right elbow strain) was reinstated from the disabled list Monday and optioned to Triple-A Durham. Rays manager Joe Maddon said Joyce is still not able to throw well enough to play the field on a daily basis. "His arm is getting better," Maddon said. "He's still not 100 percent with his throwing, but it's getting better." Dan Moeller, who heads up the Rays crew, made the trip to Toronto to check out the newly installed AstroTurf at Rogers Centre. Major League Baseball has a two-year deal with AstroTurf, and Moeller said the Rays are looking into the new surface. Tropicana Field currently has FieldTurf, which was installed four years ago and can be used for another three years, Moeller said. The new AstroTurf is not as thick as FieldTurf, does not have the same amount of fill and can be rolled up so as not to take a beating when Rogers Centre is used for something other than baseball or football. Moeller and the players were interested how this new surface plays. "Bouncier and faster," infield coach Tom Foley said while hitting grounders during batting practice. SS Jason Bartlett said his right hamstring is "getting better" and expects to rejoin the lineup Friday night in Texas. "I think Texas," he said. "I still feel it a little bit. There's no reason to go out and rush it." Bartlett said he will do some light hitting and light throwing today and take fielding practice Wednesday. The white New Era 2010 Stars & Stripes caps worn by the Rays on Monday are available for $37 at neweracap.com and at the Trop. The Rays will wear them during the July 4 weekend and on Sept. 11 to honor America and the members of the armed services. ... RHP Jeff Niemann was 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA, the second-lowest ERA by a right-hander in one month. Julio Santana had a 1.43 ERA in August 1998. ... The Rays are the fourth team in the past 25 years to have five starters with at least five wins in their first 50 games. The 2006 Tigers, 1996 Braves and 1986 Mets are the others.