04/22/10 7:07 PM ET
Joyce sees Dr. Andrews
Outfielder to rehab strained right elbow in St. Petersburg
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Joyce entered Spring Training as a serious candidate to claim the right-field job, but his elbow problem prevented him from making hard throws. He has been able to hit all along.
Crawford working to improve bunting
CHICAGO -- American League teams are likely shuddering at the fact that Carl Crawford has been working on his bunting, which should make the speedster even more dangerous when he's up to bat.
Crawford bunted for base hits several times during Spring Training and he currently leads the team with two sacrifice bunts this season.
"It's the threat of the bunt that matters," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "By the threat of the bunt, they have to play their infielders in, because Carl's gotten to the point now where he understands how to get an infield hit, too.
"If that third baseman's able to play wherever he wants to that could cut off some hits. If that first baseman is able to play wherever he wants to, that could cut off some hits, too. Whether he's able to get them down or not, it's a matter of them thinking that he can that matters."
Crawford has noticed that opposing defenses are playing him in.
"After strike one, then they go back," Crawford said. "They already know I'll bunt because in Spring Training I showed it a lot."
Maddon said if Crawford becomes a good bunter, he could add anywhere from 10 to 20 points to his batting average.
"It's something that's not really taught a lot," Maddon said. "He came from high school to professional ball and it wasn't a big part of his game. He was more concerned about building up other components of his game and he has. And now, I think starting last year, he started realizing what he could do if he started getting better at that."
Maddon credited outfield coach Davey Martinez for working with Crawford on his bunting in the spring.
"And it already has paid dividends for us this year, and for him," Maddon said. "I also believe that when you do do that, you track the ball better and I think in some obscure way it helps you track the ball better and hit to the opposite field. Look at the home run he hit [Tuesday night]. That's the beauty of him. This rare breed of speed and power, and now finesse, too."
Crawford is the total professional and is constantly working to better himself in areas he feels like he's lacking.
"Bunting, I probably could get better at it," Crawford said. "Because when you look at my game and try to find the one little thing that I don't do. That's probably the one thing you can look at and say, 'He can work on that.' Yeah, I probably can get better on that.
"I'll work on it. It's just one of those things where I still haven't figured it all out just yet."
More about Wednesday night
CHICAGO -- Wednesday night's 12-0 victory was the Rays' largest shutout win on the road in club history, surpassing the 11-0 win at Fenway Park on Sept. 27, 2006. The Rays' biggest shutout victory overall is a 13-0 drubbing of the Red Sox on April 30, 2009.
In addition, according to the Elias Sport Bureau, Mark Buehrle's six runs allowed were the most runs allowed by a pitcher in his first start against a team after he threw a no-hitter or perfect game against it since A.J. Burnett surrendered seven runs to the Padres on Aug. 27, 2001. Burnett tossed a no-hitter vs. the Padres in his prior start against them on May 12, 2001.
Willy Aybar is home in St. Petersburg after leaving the team to be present for the birth of his son. He is expected to be back with the team Friday night. ... Manager Joe Maddon said there is nothing new or different with J.P. Howell, who is rehabbing his tired left shoulder, and that everything is fine. ... Entering Thursday night's game, Rays hitters had a .328 batting average with runners in scoring position, the top mark in the Major Leagues. ... At 11-4, the Rays are off to their best start in club history. The Rays did not win their 11th game last season until May 3. They were 9-14 last April. ... Saturday night's Rays-Blue Jays contest will not be televised. John Fogerty will be performing in concert.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.