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Rodriguez could serve as backup catcher

Rodriguez could serve as backup catcher

ST. PETERSBURG -- Prior to Saturday night's game against the Blue Jays, the Rays still had no word regarding whether catcher Dioner Navarro would be suspended or fined for bumping home-plate umpire Dan Bellino after getting ejected from Friday night's game.

Whether the bump was inadvertent or not, chances are Navarro will get suspended, which would make backup catcher John Jaso the starter. The big question is: Who would be Jaso's backup?

Rays manager Joe Maddon is sticking to what he told reporters Friday night -- that utility man Sean Rodriguez would assume the backup catching duties, which would keep Tampa Bay from having to make a move.

"I'm glad he said that," Rodriguez said. "I really want him to look to me."

Rodriguez didn't seem intimidated when asked about whether he would be ready to assume the duties as backup/emergency catcher should Navarro get suspended.

"Yeah, yeah, no hesitation," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez could not remember the last time he caught in a game, but he recently has caught Rafael Soriano and Lance Cormier during their bullpen sessions.

Bullpen/catching coach Bobby Ramos believes in Rodriguez's abilities.

"Just watching him catch those guys on the side, I would not have any problem with putting him back there if we need to," Ramos said. "He's got the ability to do it. He's got good hands. He's very aware of the position and the things he's supposed to do."

Rodriguez adheres to two simple beliefs for being able to catch.

"Can you get down low enough to give them a good target? And are you afraid?" Rodriguez said. "I'm not afraid and I feel like I can get down low enough."

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