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Rays' Ben Zobrist (dislocated thumb) placed on disabled list

Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Ben Zobrist injured his thumb on a head-first slide into second base against Seattle.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Tampa Bay Rays put switch-hitting second baseman Ben Zobrist on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a dislocated left thumb.

"Right now, we're just doing treatment and we've got to let the inflammation get down," Zobrist said before the Rays began a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. "As far as everything else, I can throw, I can do exercises and I can run, so I can keep my body in complete shape - outside of swinging and catching balls.

"So once it starts feeling good enough, I'll be able to be able to hit left-handed first. Catching the ball will probably be the last thing."

Zobrist was injured on a headfirst slide while trying to steal second base in Wednesday's 2-0 victory at Seattle.

"I knew it was dislocated when I looked at it," he said. "But I was definitely relieved that it wasn't broken, too."

The headfirst slide is a part of Zobrist's game, and something he plans to continue when he returns to the lineup.

"I've slid headfirst a whole lot in my career," said Zobrist, who turns 33 in less than two weeks. "And every time I've slid normally headfirst, I've been safe - not safe on the play, mind you - but as far as not getting hurt. The only two times I've tried to avoid a tag diving headfirst are the two times I've hurt myself. So for me, it's not a matter of sliding headfirst. It's a matter of trying to do something crazy while you're sliding headfirst."

Zobrist played in a career-high 157 games last season, becoming the first player in franchise history to appear in 150 or more games in five consecutive years. The nine-year veteran and two-time All-Star is batting .260 with three homers and nine RBI for the Rays, who came to Anaheim last in the A.L. East - but just 3 1/2 games out of first.

"This guy is a regular part of our heartbeat," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's the guy that puts you back into a normal rhythm a lot of times, so it's no fun. But we've had to go through these moments before - and some of our best years we had to go through a lot of adversity early with injuries. The fact that nobody's running away with the division while we're going through our maladies is a good thing."

The Rays selected the contract of Cole Figueroa from Triple-A Durham. The 26-year-old infielder was hitting .299 with three homers and 16 RBIs at Durham. This is his seventh season in professional ball and his first trip to the big leagues.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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