Navarro tweaked his left hamstring last week so Maddon is limiting his innings as he works his way back into the lineup -- much like a manager keeps his pitchers on a pitch count as they prepare for the season.
Navarro, who is batting .300 this spring, caught three innings as the Devil Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in 10 innings Thursday night. He said he's wary of putting too much stress on the hamstring, especially after it cost him the first part of the 2006 season.
"I feel well right now, but I am more concerned with being on pace for opening day," Navarro said.
He injured his right hamstring on March 15 last year while he was vying for a spot on the Los Angeles Dodgers. He still made the opening-day roster and started 23 of the first 29 games for the Dodgers, but said he never felt 100 percent.
"I don't even want to talk about hamstrings anymore," Navarro said. "That one hurt a lot last year. I just want to take the time I need."
The Devil Rays traded veteran catcher Toby Hall and pitcher Mark Hendrickson for Navarro and pitcher Jae Seo last June 27, and Navarro started 52 games for the Devil Rays after the deal, batting .244 in 193 at-bats.
He is penciled in as the Devil Rays' starting catcher, and Maddon said he is comfortable resting Navarro until opening day.
Casey Fossum, recovering from arm surgery that ended his season last September, pitched four innings, allowing a run and four hits. He walked two and struck out three. He pitched out of a first-inning jam and said he was starting to feel comfortable.
"I have had three outings and I have been all over the place, but I am starting to settle down," Fossum said. "I put myself into situations that will get me ready for the season."
The Twins committed four errors, and manager Ron Gardenhire said he wasn't pleased with the effort, though starting pitcher Boof Bonser was impressive in his four-inning stint. Bonser allowed two runs and two walks, but Gardenhire said Bonser was rounding into shape for the season.
"He threw well, and he made the pitches when he had to," Gardenhire said. "We shot ourselves in the foot, but it wasn't Bonser's fault."
Elijah Dukes singled home the winning run. Carlos Pena had three hits, including a double, for the Devil Rays.