BOSTON -- Grant Balfour was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 1 after missing 32 games with a rib strain. Since returning, the right-hander has made two appearances, allowing one run on one hit while walking two and striking out two.
"I like the way he looks," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's around the plate, throwing strikes. The biggest two things I watch for when a guy comes off an injury would be command -- and part of that is, 'Is he guarding at all?' I don't see him guarding in his finish. I think he's on a good track."
While Maddon likes what he's seeing, he conceded that Balfour isn't quite back to the lofty plateau he had reached before getting injured.
"He was going pretty good [when he got injured]," Maddon said. "His velocity was way up there. His arm strength was built up. You could use him two or three days in a row. We've got to get back to that point. I'm saying he's going to get back there relatively soon."
Crawford well aware of his accomplishments
BOSTON -- Fresh off a 4-for-4 night in which he had three doubles, Carl Crawford was asked if he thought the 2010 season was going to be his best season as a Major Leaguer.
"I've been trying to make it my best season," Crawford said. "We've got three more weeks left, [so] we'll have to see, but I definitely hope this is my best season. I'm trying my best to play as well as I can, but I do that every year. I try my best every year. For some reason, it's been a little bit better this year."
When Crawford was told that many people believe he's having his best season because the Rays are in postseason contention and he's in the final year of his contract with Tampa Bay, the left fielder said: "I'd say they were right about both of those things -- and the fact that I understand things a little better.
"I'm learning the game a little more, too. You never stop learning. I know it's easy to say, 'Yeah, we're winning and he's contract motivated.' But I've learned a lot over the last two years, and that's been helping me on the field this year."
Crawford has been hitting third in the Rays' lineup of late, a move that he said seemed to help the lineup "a lot."
"We've been scoring runs," Crawford said. "[Manager Joe Maddon] wanted to shake things up. I never looked at myself as a three-hole hitter just because of my past. ... It's been working for us as a team, so I have no problem with that."
Upton raffling off 'BRayser' for charity
BOSTON -- B.J. Upton is raffling off his "BRayser" to support two St. Petersburg recreation centers he adopted this season as part of his "B.J.'s Bunch" Program.
The "BRayser" gained national attention two weeks ago when the Rays wore the unique blazers adorned in Rays colors in a plaid design on their West Coast road trip. After Upton posted a picture of himself wearing his jacket on his Twitter account, he received many messages from followers asking where they could get their own "BRaysers." That prompted Upton to decide to raffle off his "BRayser" for a good cause.
"[It's] just another way to raise some money, just raising some money for the two rec centers," Upton said.
Upton is raffling off his "BRayser" at his website. Proceeds go to the Childs Park and Wildwood Recreation Centers located in South St. Petersburg to help support the families served by these centers. As part of the Dugout Club community initiative this summer, Upton adopted the two recreation centers and created "B.J.'s Bunch," a positive club for the kids.
Each raffle tickets costs $15, or fans can purchase three chances for $40. Only 500 chances will be raffled off. This is the only "BRayser" available to the public and will be presented to the winner after the season. The winner will have the chance to have the "BRayser" autographed by Upton, and if they are in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, they will have the option of receiving the "BRayser" from Upton in person.
Offensive erruption one for records book
BOSTON -- The Rays put on an offensive show during Tuesday night's 14-5 win over the Red Sox, which featured an assortment of highlights.
For starters, the 14 runs were the second most the team has scored against Boston. The most the Rays scored vs. the Red Sox was 15 on July 24, 2009.
Evan Longoria's fifth-inning home run was the 12th of his career against Boston pitching, the most he has against any opponent. He also has 12 against the Orioles. Longoria's 12 homers against the Sox tied him with Carlos Pena and Mark Teixeira for the most homers against them since 2008.
Carl Crawford set a career high with three doubles, all coming in his first three at-bats. He also had four hits in the game, matching his season high; he has had four hits in a game eight times this season, which leads the Major Leagues.
The Rays hit a season-high five home runs, which is the most since they hit five against vs. Rockies in Colorado on June 16, 2009.
Finally, the Rays batted around in the fourth and fifth innings, which was the second time this season they have sent at least nine men to the plate in consecutive frames in the same game. They also did it April 29 against the Royals.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.