09/22/08 7:04 PM ET
Crawford eager to return for Rays
Speedster speaks with skipper, tells him his finger has healed
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
"I'm ready to get going," said Crawford, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 after suffering a subluxation of his right middle finger tendon that required surgery.
The Rays left fielder made the road trip and felt good enough to state his case to manager Joe Maddon to get back on the field.
"I just spoke with him, he's feeling pretty good," Maddon said. "He's got to get in there with [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield] to see what the doctors are saying these days."
The Rays have been taking a cautious approach in the hopes that Crawford can avoid having a re-occurrence of the injury that happened when he heard something pop while checking his swing against J.J. Putz of the Mariners in an Aug. 9 game 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. That tendon, used to straighten the finger, came out of its groove and caused the finger to lock into position when he bent it downward.
Thursday will be six weeks since Aug. 14, the date he had surgery, which was the earliest projected date for him to be ready to try out the hand.
"He came in to talk to me, so I've got to see if I can move this thing along," Maddon said. "He's very eager, and I like that. ... It's the first time he's come and talked to me like that, which tells me he's feeling pretty good. I don't know the answer yet [as to whether he can come back]. I just know [he's further along] than I anticipated."
Crawford is hitting .273 with eight home runs and 57 RBIs. Having him back for the postseason would be a big boost to Tampa Bay's offense. A bonus to the Rays when he does come back will be the health of his legs. Earlier this season he nursed several ailments to the legs that have carried him to four American League base stealing titles. Being out has afforded him time for his legs to heal.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.