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Crawford may be back after all



LF Carl Crawford's strained left groin is feeling better, so much that he said he expects to play again during this six-game homestand. Manager Joe Maddon said he hopes to have Crawford available on Saturday and went so far as to say it was even possible Crawford could pinch-hit in tonight's game against Boston.

"It was more encouraging than I thought,'' Maddon said. "He's going to go through some hitting drills and that kind of thing. I don't anticipate him to run like he can but we'll see if we can get him back out there to help us in some way.''

But, Maddon also said, he wouldn't use Crawford unless he felt 100 percent. And that if Crawford  doesn't play against the Red Sox or Yankees, he won't play in the final series at Toronto.

Crawford said though he felt better he was not quite ready to put a date on his return. "I'm not going to play with any soreness in my leg,'' he said.

Also, 2B Brendan Harris remains sidelined, leaving the Rays with a middle infield combo of Jorge Velandia at second and Josh Wilson at shortstop. Harris (strained left lat muscle) hopes to be back Saturday or Sunday.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are still without 1B Kevin Youkilis (sore wrist) and LF Manny Ramirez (oblique strain), but do have CF Coco Crisp (sore back) and DH David Ortiz (sore knee) back in the lineup.

The Rays who are playing:

Iwamura, 3b
Norton, dh
Pena, 1b
Upton, cf
Young, rf
Gomes, lf
Navarro, c
Velandia, 2b
Wiilson ss
Kazmir, p

Also, 1B Wes Bankston, who was designated for assignment to make room for OF Justin Ruggiano on the 40-man roster, was claimed on waivers by Kansas City.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:32am]


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