BOSTON -- The Rays' catching situation is in a precarious position entering their four-game series against the Red Sox.
Jose Lobaton came up with a sore right shoulder after attempting to throw out Tigers catcher Alex Avila during Thursday's 7-2 loss.
On Friday morning, Lobaton wasn't sure of the condition of his shoulder. He has not been put on the disabled list, but the Rays' backup catcher didn't sound that optimistic while categorizing his situation as day to day.
"I didn't throw a ball, but I don't think I'm going to be available to catch, but I'll be ready to hit," Lobaton. "Let's see how it is tomorrow, if tomorrow's fine to throw. I'm not sure what the trainers are trying to do yet."
When asked if he could play through the problem if he needed to, Lobaton said, "I don't know."
"I want to play 100 percent," Lobaton said. "Being a catcher, throwing guys out at second, it's hard. If it feels 80 percent, I can play, but at 50 percent, it's hard. For a catcher, it's tough to throw guys out. I'm going to be working hard day today and see if I can be good in a couple of days."
Lobaton said he had not seen a doctor on Thursday, but he did receive treatment in the training room.
If Lobaton's problem lingers, the catching duties would fall to starter Jose Molina and Stephen Vogt, which presents some obstacles. First, 81 games is the most Molina has started in one season, so it's not likely he can shoulder the entire load. Meanwhile, Vogt is on the team because of his offense and his catching is a work in progress.
Chris Gimenez, who is nursing a groin problem, and Nevin Ashley are possibilities who could be called up, too.
"They haven't said anything [about the disabled list]," Lobaton said. "To me, I don't want to [go on the DL], but whatever they want. I know we've got Vogt here, [so] that's good right now, we have another catcher."
Other than being able to get behind the plate, Lobaton said he was ready for duty.
"If they need me to hit today or pinch run, steal a base, huh?" Lobaton said.
Hellickson cleared to pitch on Saturday
BOSTON -- Jeremy Hellickson has been cleared to pitch Saturday against the Red Sox.
The Rays right-hander got hit on the head with a batting-practice home run ball prior to Wednesday's game in Detroit. Early Friday, there remained a sliver of doubt that he might not be cleared to pitch. But after the Rays' 12-2 loss, the team announced that last year's American League Rookie of the Year would be making his second start of the season.
Because Hellickson suffered a head injury, he had to be cleared by a Major League Baseball doctor/consultant in order to play. Once he satisfied any doubts that he did not have any problems, Hellickson was cleared.
"I've felt normal the past couple of days," Hellickson said. "I was just waiting for the OK. ... I'm not sure what they were seeing to even think about holding me back."
Hellickson said he did appreciate MLB's policy that is in place to insure the safety of the players. But he added: "At the same time, I would have been upset if it were the other way around, because I feel great."
Scott dismisses negative reaction from Sox fans
BOSTON -- Luke Scott never shies away from stating his opinion, and several of his opinions have apparently rankled Red Sox fans. Based on that fact, the Rays' designated hitter was asked if he looked forward to the reception he would receive from the Boston faithful.
Scott smiled at the question.
"I believe the Boston fans will come out and support their team as they have for many, many years," Scott said. "I don't play for the Red Sox. I play for the Rays. That's what I'm excited about. I'm excited about my team.
"[Red Sox fans] are passionate. They're passionate about their team. They're one of the teams that have one of the largest fan bases. They come out and support their team, through thick and thin. And the Cubs' fans are similar."
Scott then noted that he considered St. Louis fans to be the best in baseball.
"They're the classiest group of fans that you can find on earth," Scott said. "They cheer for their home team. They really support their home team. But you know what? The visiting team comes in, they're respectful to them. Guys make a good play. They appreciate baseball."
Scott said in no way did he dread playing at Fenway Park.
"I look forward to playing in a Major League baseball game," Scott said. "I'm not worried about fans. I'm concerned about who I'm facing on the mound. How I'm going to have to hit what they're throwing. The only thing that concerns me about Boston is that they have a very good team. They have a very good pitching staff. They're not an easy team to have success against. You have to really come prepared and be ready to do a good job, because they're a tough team, a very good team."
Lueke demoted back to Triple-A Durham
BOSTON -- Rays reliever Josh Lueke was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Friday afternoon.
The 27-year-old right-hander had made just one appearance before pitching in the eighth inning of the Rays' 12-2 loss to the Red Sox on Friday, when he allowed four earned runs on six hits and a walk.
Lueke was recalled from Durham on April 6 to replace injured closer Kyle Farnsworth in Tampa Bay bullpen.
The Rays will make a corresponding move on Saturday.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.