08/10/08 5:00 PM ET
Crawford sent to DL with finger injury
All-Star outfielder could require surgery; Baldelli activated
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Rocco Baldelli was activated off the disabled list to take Crawford's place on the roster; Eric Hinske was penciled in as Sunday's left fielder.
"It's not good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Carl's been one of our best clutch hitters recently, specifically. And there's everything else he brings, his defense, his speed in the outfield and on the bases, his leadership. All that stuff is going to be missed."
Crawford, a two-time American League All-Star, said he heard something pop when he checked his swing on a 3-1 pitch from J.J. Putz in the 10th inning of Saturday night's game against the Mariners.
"I didn't see this one coming," Crawford said. "Just something else to add to this wacky year I've been having."
Crawford's injury is located at the base of the middle finger of his right hand at the joint connecting the finger to the hand. The tendon used to straighten the fingers has come out of its groove, which causes the finger to lock into position when he bends his finger downward. He must push the tendon back into place to again straighten his finger.
Crawford was scheduled to take a Sunday afternoon flight from Seattle to Tampa and will see a hand specialist, Dr. Doug Carlan, at noon in St. Petersburg on Monday.
Crawford, 27, said he saw the Seattle team doctor, who told him the injury could keep him out six to eight weeks, or, if it requires surgery, it could put him out for the remainder of the season.
"It ain't looking good either way it goes," Crawford said.
Ron Porterfield, the Rays head athletic trainer, would not speculate on how long Crawford might be out.
Crawford was hitting .273 with eight home runs and 57 RBIs and was in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak. Recently, he became the first player since Hall of Famer Arky Vaughan (1939) to reach 80 triples before his 27th birthday. Crawford is a four-time American League leader in stolen bases, in addition to being the Rays' all-time leader in hits, at-bats, runs, stolen bases and triples.
Baldelli, 26, was placed on the 60-day disabled list March 28 with a mitochondrial disorder, a condition that slows muscle recovery and causes fatigue, costing him the first 116 games of this season. He also missed the final 124 games of 2007 due to a hamstring injury. He has not played in a Major League game since May 15, 2007.
"I'm happy to be back out there, but I'm disappointed like everybody else on the team that C.C. got hurt," Baldelli said. "It's been a long time. I just want to get back out there and play. ... I'm just real happy. It's what I love doing. It's about time."
Given the fact that Baldelli's condition will limit him to part-time play, the Rays are likely to make another move on the off-day Monday in time to have another outfielder in place by Tuesday night's game in Oakland. Jonny Gomes and Justin Ruggiano, who are at Triple-A Durham, are the top candidates from within the organization, and there is always the chance they could make a deal to acquire an outfielder from outside the organization.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.