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Knee sidelines Crawford, but not serious

Update 11:45 pm LF Carl Crawford wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday night for the opener of the series at Fenway Park, but appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth after a mid-day flight from Alabama, where he underwent an MRI on his right knee and hamstring showed no problems.

Crawford said the back of his knee/hamstring area started to feel sore during the Rays 10-game homestand, where the "turf kind of wore me out a little bit." The All-Star leftfielder flew to Alabama Tuesday morning to get examined by Dr. James Andrews, and though the injury isn't considered serious, Crawford labled it a "strain on the back of my knee," something which will likely linger for a little while.

Manager Joe Maddon said Crawford will be back in the lineup Wednesday. Crawford said it's just a matter of playing through pain.

"It's one of those things, you've got to either play through it, or hope for it to stop, or stop playing at all," Crawford said. "Since we’re in the middle of things, you don’t want to go to the DL, so you just have to find a way to play through it."

Crawford said he may have to shy away from sliding catches for a while, and admits the injury has taken away a little bit of his explosiveness on his basepaths (three stolen bases in his last 19 games going into Tuesday). He said it's a matter of building the muscle back up again.

For more, check out Wednesday's Times.

Crawford was on his way to Boston Tuesday afternoon after spending the day with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., after complaining of soreness in his right knee and hamstring.
Manager Joe Maddon said the MRI report was good, and he would talk to Crawford before the game to see if he would be available for reserve duty tonight.
Maddon said the Rays will be a "little bit cautious with him until the soreness subsides," but reiterated that "everything seems to be ok."
Neither Crawford nor the Rays said anything previously about the problem, but that would explain why he hasn't been running as often when he has been on base, and also why he unexpectedly was not in the starting lineup on Sunday. Maddon said it was merely soreness that was building up, but the injury definitely had some in the clubhouse nervous. As Cliff Floyd said, Crawford "makes us go."
"It’s hard to evaluate, (his presence is) so important," Maddon said. "Having Carl there improves your defense. It improves your offense. It causes much more concern for the other team on the bases. It provides confidence for the rest of the group that he’s there. Listen, he's our All-Star. He plays the whole game. He plays it hard. If you don’t have him out there, then the entire complexion of the team changes."

Here is what the lineup will look like tonight:
Iwamura, 2b
Navarro, c
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Floyd, dh
Hinske, lf
Gross, rf
Bartlett, ss
Garza, p


Ellsbury, lf
Pedroia, 2b
Youkilis, 1b
Ramirez, dh
Lowell, 3b
Drew, rf
Varitek, c
Crisp, cf
lugo, ss
masterson, p


[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:35am]


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