06/07/08 8:15 PM ET
Knee soreness not stopping Crawford
Outfielder continues to move up on under-27 triples list
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Despite the fact he's nursing a sore right knee, Carl Crawford hit his fourth triple of the season on Friday night, giving him 78 for his career and moving him past Gary Templeton and Stan Musial for the 12th-most triples before age 27 (since 1900).
"I felt good running [Friday]," Crawford said. "It's been awhile since I felt good running like that. I saw the way [the fielder] was throwing the ball in so I turned it on. It felt good to run like that again. It's been awhile."
Crawford turns 27 on Aug. 5 and Doc Hoblitzel is next on the list with 80 career triples before the age of 27; Ty Cobb's 126 triples before the age of 27 ranks first.
Crawford believes playing on the artificial surface at Tropicana Field is the main culprit for his knee soreness. The Rays have not played at Tropicana since Sunday and Crawford said his knee feels "a little better."
"I don't know if I looked any quicker last night," Crawford said. "I felt good running around the bases. I went out early [Friday], ran some to try and build back some strength in my leg. It's a process that I'm not really used to. I've just got to fight through it to build everything back up."
Facing a four-game suspension, which it now appears will start next Friday, will give Crawford a chance to see some real improvement to the health of his knee since he will go 16 consecutive days without playing on artificial turf (counting the current road trip with every stop being at stadiums with natural turf).
"That's what I'm hoping," Crawford said. "Put a program together and try to build up some strength for my leg [to take advantage of the period away from the artificial surface]."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.