08/15/08 8:36 PM ET
Bartlett back in starting lineup
Rays shortstop hit by pitch on his right index finger on Aug. 3
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
"It feels good, doesn't feel great, but it feels good," Bartlett said. "I just have to get over the fact [it's going to hurt some], not think about it, just do it. ... It's something that won't really heal for awhile, I just have to handle it the best I can and deal with it."
Bartlett made his first appearance at shortstop Thursday since being hit on his right index finger by Detroit's Fernando Rodney on Aug. 3. He entered the Rays game against Oakland in the 12th inning and immediately got a fielding chance when Emil Brown grounded to him and he bobbled the chance before electing not to throw to first.
"I knew it was going to happen," Bartlett said. "I didn't imagine making the error, but I imagined the ball coming to me. That's how it happens. I talked to [Ben] Zobrist after the inning and he's like, I got one ball the whole series, and I got two balls hit to me in one inning."
Bartlett redeemed himself with the second ball hit his way. With no outs, Bartlett turned Kurt Suzuki's ground ball into a 6-4-3 double play that proved to be a key moment in the Rays' 7-6 win.
The double play "made me feel a little better," Bartlett said.
Infield coach Tom Foley has been throwing with Bartlett prior to his return.
"He's been getting better and better, then yesterday before the game, we went out and played catch, his throws were fine," Foley said. "And he said he was ready to roll. ... We'll have to see. But I saw it yesterday playing catch. I think he's ready to roll."
Bartlett has been used as the Rays' DH three times since injuring his finger.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.