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08/20/08 8:15 PM ET

Crawford hopeful about return to Rays

Injured outfielder might rejoin club for final series of season

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford wore a cast and brought along a positive outlook to Tropicana Field in his first appearance since undergoing finger surgery on Aug. 14.

"Feeling good after my surgery," said Crawford from the Rays' dugout prior to Wednesday night's Rays-Angels contest. "Surgery went well, so I'm just waiting for it to heal now."

Crawford will visit a therapist in St. Petersburg on Thursday, at which time a plan for his rehab program will be mapped out. It has been speculated that Crawford could return by the team's final series of the season against the Tigers in Detroit, but he could not say whether that would be a realistic expectation.

"I'm going to try my best to get back as soon as possible," Crawford said. "I don't know how it's going to heal, but I'm definitely hoping for the best and I'm going to try the best I can to get back on the field."

Crawford's injury occurred when he checked his swing on a 3-1 pitch from J.J. Putz in the 10th inning of the Rays' Aug. 9 contest in Seattle. The injury was 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 finger came out of its groove, which caused the finger to lock into position when he bent it downward.

"This thing, it comes on and off," said Crawford about his cast. "Right now, they've got a certain cast for me where I can exercise my hand and get it back strong. So it's just a week-to-week thing right now.

"It's tough [to have gotten injured]. I just look at it as something that happened. I don't want to get down too much, because I plan on coming back. So I'm just looking to the next step, and I try not to think about that."

Crawford has fought knee and hamstring problems all season, so his surgery could be a blessing in disguise, given the healing effect inactivity has had on his tired and battered legs.

"My legs are feeling good right now," Crawford said. "Haven't been on the turf or anything, so I've just been relaxing. ... I guess if you want to find a positive out of the situation, I'll definitely be fresh and everything."

Crawford said he has not been surprised about the team's ability to keep on winning without him and All-Star Evan Longoria.

"We've been winning all season long without certain guys in the lineup," Crawford said.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.