09/26/08 6:55 PM ET
Rays activate Crawford from DL
Move raises possibility speedster could make playoff roster
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
"If it's up to me, the chances are 100 percent I'm playing [in the American League Division Series]," Crawford said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn't quite as optimistic as his left fielder, but he was more optimistic than he has been, noting that Crawford's status is no longer "not" available.
"It's better than not," Maddon said. "It's moved beyond not at all. It's a possibility. And we'll evaluate it the next couple of days."
Crawford had been on the DL since Aug. 10, recuperating from surgery to repair the subluxation of his right middle finger tendon. He was hitting .273 with 10 triples, eight home runs and 57 RBIs at the time of his injury. He had stolen 25 bases in 32 attempts.
The 27-year-old two-time All-Star is a career .293 hitter, with 84 triples, 70 homers and 302 stolen bases in 6 1/2 seasons.
Crawford got the go-ahead from the doctor who performed the surgery in Arizona, Dr. Donald Sheridan.
"The six-week mark [after the surgery] was the original mark [when I was supposed to be able to start activity], he just didn't want me to feel like I was being rushed," Crawford said. "He told me that he was really waiting on me to tell him when I was feeling fine. When I said I was fine, he was good with it. ... He cleared me to do everything."
Crawford swung the bat in a soft-toss session in addition to hitting off a tee Friday afternoon, and he is scheduled to take batting practice for the first time Saturday.
"I watched him hit off the tee and soft toss," Maddon said. "It looked very normal. So tomorrow we're going to have him hit on the field a little bit early, then engage it again. Sunday we'll have him hit again in the cage, and by Monday morning, try to figure out exactly where we want to take it."
Crawford was available for defense and pinch-running in Friday night's game. If his hitting progresses, he would likely get some live action during instructional league games in St. Petersburg in advance of playing in the ALDS.
The injury was located at the base of the middle finger at the joint connecting the finger to the hand. The tendon used to straighten the finger came out of its groove, causing the finger to lock into position when he bent it downward.
"There's isn't any soreness," Crawford said. "It's just a regular hand now."
The Rays, whose magic number to clinch the AL East title is one, have already secured a postseason berth and will play in their first Division Series game on Wednesday or Thursday.
Eric Hinske has been filling in for Crawford a majority of the time. He is batting .261 with three homers and eight RBIs in 92 at-bats since Aug. 10.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.