Tampa Bay Rays' Carl Crawford to miss at least one more game with back injury

TORONTO — All-Star LF Carl Crawford wants to believe he'll be out only another day or so, but never before having the back stiffness that forced him from Monday's game, he admitted he wasn't sure what to think.

"I just know I've never had this problem before, and whenever you go through something for the first time it always scares you a little bit and you want to be as careful as possible," said Crawford, moving gingerly in the clubhouse.

Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays "don't believe it's anything serious" but expects Crawford to be out at least tonight and be re-evaluated Wednesday.

Crawford wasn't sure when it happened — he was on base in the first and awkwardly reversed direction — but felt it playing the field in the second, saying it "just locked up" and that he had "an achy pain" across his lower back. He has never had back problems and said he was "pretty sure" playing nine consecutive games on the Tropicana Field turf "has something to do with it."

HELP ON THE WAY: Maddon expects only a few callups for the Sept. 1 roster expansion but said they'll be players who get used — a third catcher, an extra infielder and outfielder and likely a couple or three pitchers.

"Not a ton," Maddon said. "You want to get extra help, you don't want to have the crowded (locker) room. You want to be able to get guys off their feet in a blowout one way or another. …

"Those are the considerations. It's not just to have somebody show up and say, 'This is what the big leagues are like, and we're trying to get you ready for next year.' We want them here to contribute."

From Maddon's outline, the names that would seem to make the most sense include C Michel Hernandez, 2B Akinori Iwamura (rehabbing his left knee) and RHP Andy Sonnanstine, who all spent a good chunk of the season with the team, and OF Fernando Perez, who is rehabbing from a spring wrist injury. Matt Joyce would be another outfield option.

They'd likely add a couple of pitchers, such as top starting prospect Wade Davis (who conveniently could help them through the Sept. 6 day/night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium), and possibly a reliever from the group that includes prospect Dale Thayer and veterans Joe Nelson and Jeff Bennett, who also were up at times.

These additions will require some subtractions, as Iwamura and Perez (who are on the 60-day DL) and Hernandez (who was designated for assignment) have to be added to the 40-man roster, which is at 39.

NO TV TONIGHT: The Rays aren't televising tonight's game so they can show Sunday's game at Detroit instead.

The Sunday game was originally reserved by ESPN for potential Sunday night broadcast but made available to the Rays when the network opted to show Braves-Phillies.

The Rays and Sun Sports/Fox Sports Florida decided to add that and drop tonight's game, team VP Rick Vaughn said, figuring Sunday offered "a more attractive game against another team in the postseason hunt and at a time when we felt more of our fans could watch."

They couldn't just add Sunday's game because they have a contract with Sun/Fox, and a budget, for 150 games, Vaughn said.

ESPN has added two other games that will be shown to most of the U.S. (though in the Tampa Bay area by the Rays network): Sept. 2 vs. the Red Sox and Sept. 9 vs. the Yankees.

MISCELLANY: Rays players will meet today at their hotel with Michael Weiner, who is replacing Don Fehr as the head of the union. … C Nevin Ashley; INFs Cody Cipriano and Shawn O'Malley; and RHPs Matt Gorgen, Paul Phillips and Heath Rollins were chosen to represent the Rays in the Arizona Fall League.

Tampa Bay Rays' Carl Crawford to miss at least one more game with back injury 08/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 1:33am]

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