Despite foot pain, Souza returns, homers

Rays right fielder hits solo shot against Astros on Thursday

Despite foot pain, Souza returns, homers

HOUSTON -- Pain is one thing. Peace of mind is another. Steven Souza Jr. got some peace of mind after having the pain in his left foot checked out.

The Rays right fielder fouled a ball off his left foot in Monday night's game against the Astros, then missed Tuesday's and Wednesday's games. Initially, X-rays came back negative. And Wednesday he had an MRI, which also showed the problem in his foot was nothing more serious than the pain he's been dealing with.

"I feel the same as I have the past couple of days," Souza said. "It's slowly getting better. When you find out there's no break, you kind of get a little peace of mind, and you kind of push the limit a little bit."

As a result, Souza was back in the lineup for Thursday night's series finale in Houston. Not only that, but he hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and a two-run double in the seventh.

"As of right now, I feel good enough to go out there," Souza said.

Souza Jr.'s impressive snag

Souza had season-ending hip surgery in 2016, and he's dealt with other injuries, so he's learned that pushing through the pain is not always the best option.

"Exactly," Souza said. "And I think your foot is so important. Especially for my game, I run around out there so much. I didn't want to push the limit when there was a chance that it could be broken and I had it displaced, and I need to get a screw put in it.

"Now that I know that it's just some swelling in the joint, it doesn't make it feel much better, but I can kind of push through it."

Souza said Tuesday, before he was a late scratch, that it was Aug. 1, and he was prepared to play through the pain, given the stage of the season and the fact the Rays are in the playoff hunt. However, he had a change of heart after running before the game and experiencing a great deal of pain.

"It would not be worth it to do that on Aug. 1 if [a bone in my foot] was displaced, and I would be done for the year," Souza said. "But now that I know, it's worth it to go out there and try."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who has been on the disabled list since July 26 (retroactive to July 25) with a lower-back strain, is scheduled to start for Class A Advanced Charlotte on Friday.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.