Navarro fine after taking ball to mask

Navarro fine after taking ball to mask

ST. PETERSBURG -- Dioner Navarro wasn't in the lineup Sunday after having to leave Saturday night's game, but everything appears to be fine where the Rays catcher's health is concerned.

"I'm fine, OK," Navarro told reporters before Sunday's game. "A little sore. ... It's like somebody punched me in the jaw. It's still a little painful and uncomfortable. That's all."

Navarro left Saturday night's Rays-A's game in the top of the seventh inning after taking a ball off his catcher's mask.

A's DH Jack Cust swung at a pitch from Grant Balfour and fouled the ball into Navarro's mask, causing a blow to his left jaw. The Rays catcher went to his knees and was attended to by manager Joe Maddon and the Rays' medical staff. After several minutes, Navarro walked off the field and was replaced by Michel Hernandez.

"Weird man, it was weird," Navarro said. "I know it hit something before it hit me. And then I was feeling fine. I was feeling OK. Then I was nauseous and dizzy."

Navarro was taken to Bayfront Hospital where tests ruled out his having a concussion or any broken bones.

Navarro said he felt like he would be fine by the time the Rays start the second half Friday in Kansas City.

"Hopefully, everything will be fine," Navarro said.

Maddon sounded relieved about the state of his starting catcher.

"He won't play today," Maddon said. "But I really believe he's going to be fine by the time we play Friday."

John Jaso was summoned from Triple-A Durham to back up Michel Hernandez in Sunday's game. Tampa Bay did not have to do any serious roster shifting to accommodate Jaso since he is on the team's 40-man roster and a spot opened for him when reliever Grant Balfour went on bereavement leave so he could travel to Australia for a death in his family. Balfour is expected to be back with the team by Friday, and the team should have a better idea about Navarro's health by then.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.