Rays DH Luke Scott will start season on DL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A start to Luke Scott’s season must wait.

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Saturday afternoon that the designated hitter will be placed on the 15-day disabled list. The eight-year veteran, who was re-signed by the Rays to a one-year, $2.75 million deal in February, will miss time because of a right calf strain sustained after drinking too much alkaline water, he said.

The trip to the DL is retroactive to March 24, meaning he can be activated as early as the game at the Texas Rangers on April 8.

Scott spoke Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field during the Rays’ spring training finale against the Detroit Tigers while sporting a small bandage on the affected calf after receiving a cortisone shot.

He said he drinks about a gallon of alkaline water a day, which proponents say has a higher absorption rate than tap water, but which contributed to the strain by flushing out electrolytes in his body.

“I just got an injection,” said Scott, who hit .324 in 34 at-bats this spring. “The good thing was it tightened up yesterday, and today I was working pretty much normal. … It’s just not quite ready. The cortisone will probably help with the inflammation and help speed up the healing process.”

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said the team is weighing internal options for how to adapt to Scott’s absence, which could last two to three weeks or as many as five. One scenario includes Kelly Johnson as designated hitter, Sam Fuld in the outfield, Ben Zobrist at second base and Matt Joyce in the outfield.

“It’s one of those things that we’re very unsure of,” Maddon said. “The fact that he’s a DH and not a position player on the field may also expedite the process. It could be two to three weeks. It could be a little more than that. Again, we just don’t know.”

Scott, 34, hit .229 in 96 games last season, his first with Tampa Bay, while struggling to overcome a 2011 surgery on his right shoulder.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.