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Navarro in lineup despite finger injury

TORONTO -- Dioner Navarro was back in the Blue Jays lineup on Wednesday night despite injuring his right index finger against Tampa Bay the night before.

Navarro's glove hand was struck by a bat when Jose Molina followed through on his swing in the third inning. The veteran catcher originally thought he broke his finger, but it turned out to be a deep bruise.

The 30-year-old catcher wore a splint for the rest of the game, which required the finger to be pointed straight at all times, including during his at-bats. That can obviously cause some issues, but Navarro didn't feel like it was enough of a hindrance to keep him out of the lineup.

"I missed a few days with the quad thing, and I can't be sitting here watching the game," said Navarro, who missed a few games earlier this month with a sore right leg. "I tested it this morning and I felt good enough. I let them know last night that I was ready to play today. I believe if I'm 60 percent that I'm ready, I feel like I can contribute and I'm going to play. I'm not going to sit down."

The desire to play through pain comes at least in part because the Blue Jays have been on such a roll of late. Navarro has been waiting for this type of opportunity since 2009 when he was still with Tampa Bay. and isn't about to let it slip away just yet.

Toronto entered play on Wednesday night on an eight-game winning streak to put the club nine games over .500. Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista have received the bulk of the credit, but it's been an all-around team effort.

Navarro wants to make sure the winning ways continue, and in the meantime he will do anything possible to remain in the lineup on a regular basis.

"I just love to play, man, I love to play," Navarro said. "I kind of put myself in the situation where I want to be again. Playing after being a backup for the past three years, and now I have this opportunity. It has been such a wonderful experience being around these guys.

"Eddie hitting bombs, Melky getting five hits a day, Reyes stealing seven bases. It's just so much fun. [Mark] Buehrle didn't have his best stuff last night and still gave us 6 2/3, you know what I'm saying? We just have to keep riding this bus, keep riding it and keep going hard."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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