Rays RHP Jason Hammel didn't know how to react to the tightness he started feeling in his throwing shoulder during the second inning Wednesday.
The 24-year-old has never had shoulder problems, so initially he thought there was something wrong with his mechanics.
"I figured I was doing something wrong with my delivery," Hammel said. "It didn't hurt. It was just tight. It just felt like I was all out of rhythm with my mechanics and my arm, and I didn't really even know where my shoulder was because I was thinking about it too much because it felt so weird."
Three pitches into the fourth inning, manager Joe Maddon had seen enough.
Hammel's velocity was off, especially on his fastball and slider, so he pulled Hammel from the game after three innings and one batter.
Initially it was a scare, but after the game Hammel saw team orthopedist Koco Eaton, who diagnosed Hammel with a mild case of biceps tendonitis. Hammel said he will make his next start, scheduled for Tuesday in Detroit.
Wednesday marked Hammel's third start since returning to the rotation - he worked out of the bullpen initially after being called up June 11. He was working his pitch count up with every start, and Maddon hoped to get him to 100 pitches, but Hammel lasted just 54.
"I take really good care of my body, so that's why this is a surprise," Hammel said. "I don't want to miss a start. I'd be very aggravated if I missed a start. It's not a major case."
TOWERING SHOT: LF Carl Crawford hit his second homer of the series - he also hit a walkoff shot Monday - a two-run home run in the sixth that gave the Rays the lead. Crawford hit a ball to the warning track in leftfield in his first at-bat.
The 25-year-old All-Star has played his best baseball against the Blue Jays, despite battling a sprained right wrist during this series. The injury has forced Crawford to keep his swing short, he said.
"That's what it allows me to do is stay short," Crawford said. "This is the important hand, so I really need to be careful with it."
With three hits Wednesday off starter Josh Towers, Crawford is batting .426 (20-for-47) against the Jays right-hander and has five career homers, his most against any pitcher in the majors. Also, five of Crawford's eight homers this season have come against the Jays, and his 34th stolen base of the season was his 39th career steal against Toronto, also his most against any opponent.
"He's an All-Star, and he has a chance to be an MVP one day," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We're tired of looking at him."
MISCELLANY: The Rays have hit 19 homers in 12 games against the Blue Jays this season, their most against any club. ... With two hits Wednesday, Rays 3B Akinori Iwamura has an eight-game hitting streak. ... The Rays didn't have an update on Triple-A Durham RHP Jeff Niemann, who left Monday's game after just five pitches with a shoulder injury. ... C Raul Casanova was outrighted to Durham. ... Maddon on the Red Sox adding RHP Eric Gagne to their already-stellar bullpen: "It's a six-inning game, baby. It's back to Little League. You've got to win it after six and then hold on."