ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez, who fractured his right hand last week while playing for Triple-A Durham, is confident he'll be able to return before the end of the season.
Rodriguez took grounders before Monday's series opener against the Yankees and flipped balls back in with his broken hand, still unable to throw the ball. He said doctors are planning to have Rodriguez undergo more X-rays "in a couple weeks" to see if the fracture is healing correctly.
"There's a good chance I'll be back; it's just a matter of when," Rodriguez confidently said. "I've just got to make sure I'm ready when I come back."
The injury occurred when Rodriguez punched a locker after a Bulls game last Tuesday. He had been optioned on Aug. 21 and was set to be called up when rosters expanded on Saturday.
"Even the slightest bit of aggravation can slow the healing process," Rodriguez said. "That's what I don't want to do."
Rays manager Joe Maddon had said that Rodriguez would have seen time in his return to the Majors. Tampa Bay entered Monday's action 1 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the second American League Wild Card spot and 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the AL East lead. Rodriguez regretted not being able to contribute much down the stretch.
"That's been the hardest thing," Rodriguez said. "I made a bone-headed mistake, something that was immature. It's stupid. That's probably the least of it. The fact that everybody in here has to suffer from that [hurts]."
Rodriguez was hitting .215 this season prior to being optioned.