Navarro leaves wild Rays win with injured thumb

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Dioner Navarro and the Tampa Bay Rays were hoping for the best after a simple pickoff play in the third inning.

Navarro was struck by a pickoff throw during the Rays’ 16-15 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday and departed with an injured left thumb.

Navarro was hit when Jack Taschner threw over to first. It was diagnosed as a contusion, and he returned to the Rays’ complex in Port Charlotte for further evaluation.

Navarro described the ball as pushing his thumb backward.

“I’ve been hit so many times that I don’t even know when my bone is broken,” he said. “This one, maybe because I wasn’t catching, hurt more than when I’m behind the plate. Hopefully, it’s OK.”

Winds were gusting up to 35 mph toward left field at the start of the game, and both teams took advantage.

Carl Crawford and Pat Burrell homered in the fifth inning for Tampa Bay, which has won nine straight. Justin Ruggiano and Angel Chavez hit consecutive drives during the split-squad’s seven-run seventh.

Ronny Cedeno and Neil Walker each hit a two-run homer for Pittsburgh, and Delwyn Young had a solo shot.

Kevin Hart, competing with Daniel McCutchen for the fifth spot in Pittsburgh’s rotation, had a 1-2-3 first inning but gave up five runs in the second. Hart has been charged with seven runs and walked seven in three spring innings.

“The way I threw the ball, I feel like I took a step forward,” Hart said. “Stuff-wise and pitch-wise, I felt better and more confident.”

Wade Davis gave up five runs and three hits in two innings for Tampa Bay. He walked three and struck out two.

NOTES: Tampa Bay OF Matt Joyce was scratched because of a sore right elbow. … Tampa Bay INF Willy Aybar made his first spring appearance after being hampered by a strained left wrist. Pittsburgh closer Octavio Dotel (strained oblique) threw his second bullpen session and said he felt fine. He is expected to throw another bullpen session and pitch live batting practice before appearing in a minor league game. … INF Ramon Vazquez said he thinks the Pirates will trade or release him. He is due $2 million in 2010. “They told me I’m not on the team right now,” Vazquez said. “If I don’t do well enough, I’m going to be gone. I don’t know what that means, if that’s a trade or what. I’m playing for myself right now.” Vazquez, 32, batted .230 with the Pirates last season. General manager Neal Huntington acknowledged that one of the candidates for the Pirates’ bench could be traded. … Pittsburgh reliever Joel Hanrahan (elbow) extended his long-tossing program to 105 feet, but he probably will start the season on the 15-day disabled list.