Kazmir, Garza, Navarro head to rehab

Kazmir, Garza, Navarro head to rehab

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rays hope to have three core players back with the club in the not-too-distant future.

Pitchers Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza and catcher Dioner Navarro all are working on rehab assignments and will play for Tampa Bay's Class A affiliate Vero Beach in the next few days.

"[Vero Beach] should be selling some tickets for those games," Rays manager Joe Maddon joked.

Navarro will catch Kazmir on Friday, when the left-hander is scheduled to throw three-to-four innings, or about 45 pitches. Kazmir has been sidelined since Feb. 25 with a left elbow strain. Garza is scheduled to start Sunday and will throw about 60 pitches. The right-hander had to leave his start on April 8 with radial nerve irritation in his right arm. Navarro hasn't played since April 4, when he slipped heading into the dugout in a game against the Yankees and cut two fingers, requiring 12 stitches.

Maddon said Navarro could be back with Tampa Bay as early as Tuesday, when the Rays host Toronto.

10 different Rays players have landed on the disabled list so far this season.

"It's tough," Maddon said. "We've had a lot of injuries, but we can't use that as an excuse."

Joe Kieser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.