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Longoria joins Crawford on DL



If it wasn't bad enough to lose LF Carl Crawford, the Rays said Monday that rookie 3B Evan Longoria, their top home run and RBI producer, was also going on the 15-day disabled list because what they thought was a bruise on his right wrist turned out to be a fracture.

Executive VP Andrew Freidman said they expect Longoria to be out about three weeks, give or take a few days. The fracture is nondisplaced, which is a good thing, he said. There was no update on Crawford, who was examined Monday in St. Petersburg by team hand specialist Dr. Doug Carlan. Friedman said the Rays were still gathering information, and may send it to other doctors for their opinions, before deciding on a course of action.

That leaves the Rays, who hold a 4 1/2 game lead in the American League East heading into the final 44 games of the season without two of their best all-around players.

"Where we are in the standings isn't because of any one player, so this is certainly a challenge for us, but we have great confidence in the guys we do have,'' Friedman said.

OF Justin Ruggiano is being called up from Triple-A Durham, and will play at least part of the time in leftfield, as the Rays are planning to "mix and match" with Ruggiano, Eric Hinske, Gabe Gross and Rocco Baldelli in the corner outfield spots. Willy Aybar, and at times Ben Zobrist, will handle third base.

Though the Rays will continue to monitor the waiver wire (since players can only be traded after July 31 if they are claimed or clear waivers), Friedman downplayed the possibility of acquiring outside help. Essentially, he said the Rays are confident the players they have will step up.

Crawford was hurt in his last at-bat on Saturday and had what the Rays said was a  "tendon subluxation," a problem with the tendon being out of its normal groove. He was examined Monday in St. Petersburg by team hand specialist Dr. Doug Carlan.

Longoria was hit by a J.J. Putz pitch in Thursday's game, and missed the next three, but was expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday. Instead, he was put on the DL retroactive to Aug. 8. which means he will out until at least Aug. 23.

After Sunday's game in Seattle, Longoria - who is hitting .278 with 22 homers and 71 RBIs - said there was a "solid" chance he would be back in the lineup for the first game against Oakland and that he "felt a lot better.''

But the Rays decided they'd be more comfortable having him see their own doctor, and flew him back to Tampa on a red-eye flight from San Francisco, confident enough that he was okay that he had a return ticket. But a new exam determined what a Seattle doctor thought was an old fracture was actually a new one. Friedman said in a way it was good news, because if Longoria had kept playing there was a chance he could have sustained a serious injury.

Ruggiano, 26, has been up with the Rays three times already this season, hitting .290 in 15 games. He can play all three outfield positions, and gives the Rays more defense and versatility than if they had recalled Jonny Gomes. Ruggiano was hitting 315 with 11 home runs, 51 RBI, 18 doubles and 20 stolen bases in 66 games for Durham.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:37am]


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