NEW YORK -- Ben Zobrist encountered a setback on Monday while trying to return from a broken left thumb and could be out up to an additional three weeks.
According to Rays manager Joe Maddon, Zobrist went to the doctor on Monday to have his thumb examined, and it was determined that the bone was not healing on its own, prompting pins to be inserted in the thumb.
The pins are expected to remain in place for two weeks, so the earliest that Zobrist could return would be in three weeks, since he would need at least a week of playing in games before he returning to the Rays.
Zobrist juggled different positions during the early part of Spring Training in hopes of becoming a super-utility player, but he then suffered a hairline fracture of the tip of his left thumb while sliding into second base during a March 9 game against the Reds.
Chief among Zobrist's duties as a super-utility man was his ability to play shortstop when starting shortstop Jason Bartlett needed a day off. Currently, Elliot Johnson is serving as the backup shortstop.
Zobrist, who was the Rays' Opening Day shortstop in 2007, was hitting .421 (8-for-19) in eight Spring Training games before the injury.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.