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C Ciuffo sustains laceration when bat hits head

Backstop struck on follow-through, still being evaluated by Rays
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Nick Ciuffo had to leave Thursday's game after getting hit by O's hitter DJ Stewart's bat on the follow-through in a 5-2 loss to the Orioles at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Rays catcher sustained a laceration on the right side of his head. He will continue to be evaluated.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Nick Ciuffo had to leave Thursday's game after getting hit by O's hitter DJ Stewart's bat on the follow-through in a 5-2 loss to the Orioles at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Rays catcher sustained a laceration on the right side of his head. He will continue to be evaluated.

View Full Game Coverage

"No update on Ciuffo, obviously he split his head open," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That was a pretty good one. He's going to be seen by the doctors here at some point this afternoon. Unfortunate, you don't want to see that happen. Especially for a young player that we wanted to see get some reps."

Ciuffo was unavailable for comment.

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The injury occured in the seventh inning, sending Ciuffo to the dirt for several minutes while a Rays trainer tended to him with Cash looking on. Ciuffo eventually got to his feet and exited via a golf cart.

Faria not sharp
Jake Faria wasn't sharp in his two innings of work on Thursday.

"Looked like Jake just couldn't find any tempo, any rhythm," Cash said.

Faria, who is slated to be a part of the Rays' four-man rotation to start the season, allowed one run on a hit, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Of the 37 pitches he threw, 21 were strikes.

"When I was falling behind, I was just letting the game slow down, thinking about it too much," Faria said. "Trying to overanalyze everything instead of just getting on the mound and going. ... All you have to do is keep a good tempo and not think too much. I was thinking way too much today, and the last game, too."

Faria's first outing of the spring was Saturday against the Red Sox when he allowed three runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning.

"The last outing, I could feel it immediately what I was doing wrong," Faria said. "Today I could, but for me it's not trying to change things too quickly. It's so early in camp, we have the time to work on stuff. I'm just trying to -- slowly, step by step -- make subtle changes that will eventually work out in the long run."

Faria told reporters he wasn't concerned at this point.

"Not at all," Faria said. "I struggled in spring last year and the season started, and I was fine. ... I found something that was wrong and then slowly worked on fixing it. You take spring seriously, but if you go six shutout innings, it doesn't mean as much as it does during the season. So right now it's all about working on things, finding out what's going to work and what's not going to work."

Injury update
Third baseman Matt Duffy (back spasms) was not in the lineup again on Thursday. He told reporters he's "moving around" and doing better. He's day to day.

Infielder Brad Miller (broken right pinky toe) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (tightness behind his right knee) remain on the shelf as well.

"Duffy, Brad, Hech, all of them will just kind of chill," Cash said. "But no setbacks. They're just kind of taking it easy. Probably won't see Brad until after the off-day [Monday], realistically. Hech is scheduled to play loosely in Tampa [Sunday]. I might veto that myself because it's not important. And Duffy, just see where it's at."

Camp battles
The battle for bullpen spots continues to be the most interesting one this spring. Count veteran Jonny Venters in the midst of the fray. Thursday he tossed his second scoreless frame of the spring as he retired the side in order in the eighth, fanning Erick Salcedo swinging for the third out.

"Good innings," said Cash of Venters' two outings. "Liked his changeup, mixed that in today. He was fastball-slider the other day. Threw some changeups. Looked like it had good depth."

Up next
Blake Snell will start on Friday afternoon when the Rays host the Phillies at Charlotte Sports Park in a 1:05 ET contest. Closer Alex Colome is expected to make his spring debut. Also expected to see their first spring action are Sergio Romo and Daniel Hudson, who was acquired in the Corey Dickerson trade. Aaron Nola will start for the Phillies. Listen to the game live on an exclusive webcast.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Nick Ciuffo, Jake Faria