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Crawford better , Hamilton back ....

Star leftfielder Carl Crawford sat out Friday's game due to lingering stiffness and soreness in his left knee, but said he is confident he should be able to return to action on Saturday night. ""I'm going to try to make every effort to get in the lineup,'' Crawford said. He hurt the knee in Thursday's game, jumping in frustration after being called out at home plate and quickly crumbling to the ground in pain, fearing a serious injury and relieved to find out it wasn't. The Rays tend to be cautious with injuries, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Crawford rests another day or two. And he may not be stealing as many bases initially when he returns.

The return of Josh Hamilton to the baseball field under the ""limited privileges'' granted by MLB as he remains on the restricted list due to multiple drug policy violations is a feel-good story. But it is also a cautionary tale, as Hamilton has a long way to go personally - as well as professionally - before coming anywhere close to getting to the major leagues. Because of the depths of his problem, the Rays and MLB will have to be sure he is able to handle the successes and failures that come with the game on a daily basis at ant level, as well as the lifestyle, with being on the road with lots of free time and, at the big-league level, with money and people hanging around. Also, there is the fact that he hasn't played at game-level speed since July 2002. But for anyone that knew him way back when, it was good to see him back.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:30am]


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