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06/25/10 7:57 PM ET

Crawford waits to stretch out sore shoulder

Left fielder available for pinch-running duty only vs. D-backs

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford reported being "a little sore" Friday, a day after leaving the Rays' 5-3 win after the second inning with a sore left shoulder.

"Just going to treat it today and hope it feels better tomorrow," Crawford said.

The left fielder felt soreness in his shoulder after making a throw in Wednesday night's game.

"I didn't feel a pop," Crawford said. "Sometimes when you throw, you feel soreness. You always have aches and pains, and you think it will just be gone tomorrow, like that. That's what I thought. The next day came, and I was sore. I tried to do all I could to play, and once I saw I couldn't do anything, I figured I better take care of it."

He felt the soreness before Thursday afternoon's game.

"I was warming up with B.J. [Upton], and it was difficult to play catch with B.J., even though we were at a short distance," Crawford said. "It wasn't good."

When asked whether he felt any improvement in his shoulder Friday, Crawford said, "Kind of like it was yesterday."

"One of those things where you have to keep trying to stretch it and get it loose," Crawford said. "We haven't even tried to start stretching it yet. So tomorrow, hopefully it will feel better."

Crawford did not throw before Friday night's game, and he planned to get treatment throughout while keeping an eye on the late innings for the possibility of pinch-running duties.

Crawford said he has not had any tests on his shoulder.

"Hopefully I don't have to get to that," he said.

Joyce rides roller coaster to big leagues

ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Joyce was projected to be the Rays' starting right fielder this season, but a strained right elbow prevented that from happening.

Now Joyce has returned to Tampa Bay almost three months after his expected arrival.

"It's been a roller coaster," Joyce said. "See how it goes now."

Joyce could hit all along, but he could not throw without pain. Once he was able to start making throws from the outfield, he was in consideration for recall, which happened after Thursday afternoon's game. Catcher Dioner Navarro was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

"Everything feels good," Joyce said. "[My arm is] not 100 percent. For some reason, I can't really let it go. But it's about 85 or 90 percent."

In addition to Joyce's elbow problem this spring, he also experienced a problem in his first spring with the Rays in 2009. If anything, he has learned about patience.

"I tell you what: It tests you," Joyce said. "This game tests you and your patience. You have to have a lot. It's been a long ride back. Like I said, I'm excited to be here now."

Joyce hit .293 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 25 games for Durham.

"I think the biggest thing in Triple-A was to make sure the elbow was ready to go," Joyce said. "And I stayed on it every day. Made sure to strengthen it. Grind out the ABs. Work the walks. Take away solid ABs. Get good jumps in the outfield. The normal things they expect from you. Just play the game the right way."

He continued: "Going to Durham I wasn't sure how it would play out. There were a lot of days when it was really sore. I would question whether or not I'd be ready. And you'd have to go through those times when it would be sore. And right now it feels great."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said, "Overall, it was important to get Matt up here."

"He'd been doing a great job, and he's done everything we've asked him to do to get here," Maddon said. "And furthermore, we've not been the best offensively, and hopefully he can provide a spark. We're not looking for him to carry any kind of extraordinary weight. Just come up here and be yourself and keep doing what you've been doing. And that will be good enough. And that can help us."

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