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Crawford leaves game with injury

As if the Devil Rays needed anything else bad to happen on their miserable seasonlong roadtrip, star leftfielder Carl Crawford left Thursday's game after experiencing what the team said was stiffness in his left knee. Crawford was hurt as he reacted to being called out at the plate in the fourth inning, jumping in the air in protest, then grabbing his knee and writhing on the ground in pain. He was attended to briefly on the field and walked off on his own, then played the field in the bottom of the fourth, running after two balls. But after the Rays batted in the fifth, Crawford was removed from the lineup. Team spokesman Chris Costello said it did not appear to be a serious injury, but Crawford is likely to be further checked today. Crawford, who was just named American League co-player of the week, is the Rays best all-around player and has been sizzling on the 10-game roadtrip, setting a team record with 19 hits in 42 at-bats for a .452 average. After a double and a triple Thursday, he was hitting .300 for the season with a team-high 35 runs, five homers, 27 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases. Batting with two on and two out in the fourth, he lashed a ball to left-center and as Baltimore leftfielder Jeff Conine had trouble coming up with it, Crawford turned the corner for third and then to home. He appeared to beat the relay from shortstop Miguel Tejada and did a pop-up slide, but home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor ruled that catcher Ramon Hernandez's foot blocked Crawford from the plate. Crawford took a few steps then jumped violently and threw his helmet in protest, and his left knee appeared to buckle when he landed on the wet grass.

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


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