Notes: Baldelli done for season
Outfielder expects to be back in big leagues in 2008
SEATTLE -- Rocco Baldelli will not play for the Rays again this season.Baldelli suffered a strained hamstring in May and has since seen two rehab assignments terminated prematurely for one reason or another. He recently underwent an unspecified series of tests after experiencing general soreness. "I'm waiting on tests," said Baldelli, who joined the team in Seattle on Thursday. "It's not like something we're trying to keep a secret." Rumors have been flying about the root of Baldelli's problems, some of which have been dire diagnoses. Baldelli all but said everything catastrophic has been ruled out. After Baldelli's last rehab assignment had to be shut down, Rays doctors determined it would be best to try and dig deeper into what was causing the problem, primarily with the lower half of his body. "In a couple of weeks, all the test results should be in, and we'll have an idea about what direction we need to go next," Baldelli said. Though Baldelli could not -- or would not -- report on what specific tests have been conducted, he noted that everything to date had come back negative and said, "I would think I'm a pretty healthy 25-year-old." One report said Baldelli had pondered retirement, to which Baldelli replied: "I can say no to that one. I'm too young to retire." Baldelli expects to be back in the Major Leagues next season. "Once we know exactly what we're dealing with, we move it along," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "My thing is just get him back for next year. Be smart about this." Maddon said they invited Baldelli to join the team on the trip. "I'd like to get him out here and be involved," Maddon said. "Be around the group. He's a big part of our future. ... I'm a big fan of Rocco. It's good to get him out here." Baldelli said he would strive to stay in the background. "I don't want to be a distraction," Baldelli said. "They're playing well." C.C.'s suspension: A settlement was reached between Major League Baseball and the Players Association in the matter of Carl Crawford's suspension appeal. As a result, Crawford began serving his two-game suspension on Thursday night for actions that led to his ejection by umpire Paul Nauert when the Rays played the Orioles on Sept. 3. The appeal reduced the fine from $1,000 to $750, but the number of games remained the same. "I won't be doing that again," Crawford said. "I guess they didn't want me to do it anymore either." Crawford said he wasn't surprised. "I probably deserved it," he said. Given the fact the Rays are playing all pennant contenders for the remainder of the season, Maddon was hopeful the suspension could have been delayed until the end of the season. Mixing up the lineup: The Rays had one of their oddest configured lineups of the season on Thursday night. Brendan Harris led off, Greg Norton hit second, Joel Guzman played third, Jorge Velandia manned shortstop and Raul Casanova was behind the dish. Maddon explained by saying there were several players he wanted to rest. He figured Thursday's game, along with two nearby off-days, would rest his key troops for the remainder of the season. Pena for 40: Including the 2007 season, there have been 109 players who have hit 40-plus home runs in a season -- 54 are AL players. Comeback Player of the Year candidate Carlos Pena is looking to become the 10th Dominican-born player to do it. The list includes Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, George Bell, Alfonso Soriano, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Tony Batista. If Pena accomplishes the feat, he will become the 25th player to 40-plus home runs in his first season with a team, and he would become the first to do it after being released the year prior. Minor League playoff update: Triple-A Durham (International League) evened its best-of-five Governor's Cup Championship Series at a game apiece on Wednesday night. The series moves to Richmond (Braves) for Games 3-5. Double-A Montgomery (Southern League) lost to Huntsville (Brewers) on Wednesday night in the first game of the best-of-five series. Class A Columbus (South Atlantic League) leads 2-0 in its series against West Virginia (Brewers). Up next: The Rays will play the Mariners in the second game of their four-game series on Friday night in a 10:05 ET contest at Safeco Field. Right-hander James Shields will start for the Rays and will be opposed by right-hander Felix Hernandez.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.