tampabay.com

Fading 200-hit bid is fine with Crawford

By MARC TOPKIN
Published September 29, 2005


CLEVELAND - Carl Crawford may end up having a hard time getting the first 200-hit season in Devil Rays history because of a sore left wrist that kept him out of Wednesday's starting lineup and an unsuccessful bid to reverse a scoring call.

Even more interesting, he said that given the circumstances it doesn't matter much to him if gets the final six hits he needs.

"Two hundred hits is a good deal for you guys (in the media)," he said. "I don't like to get 200 hits this way. A person like me, I like to get my stats within the game when it's meaningful. These games don't mean (much). So it's artificial to get 200 hits right now; it's not authentic.

"It's like just trying to get it 'cause I'm close to it. I don't want to reach it that way. I'm not going to say I don't care about reaching it, but it's not that important to me because I'm not reaching it in the way I want to reach it."

Crawford didn't start because of a sore left wrist but entered in the ninth as a defensive replacement in left. He said he is unsure if he will be able to play tonight.

"It's pretty sore," Crawford said. "When it's even a little bit cold it aches just when I grip the bat. ... I'll try to get ready for (tonight), but if it's sore I'll tell them I don't want to play."

Also, any chance of having the hit restored that was taken away by a scoring change ended Wednesday when Angel Stadium official scorer Ed Munson declined to reverse his decision.

MLB officials reviewed game tape at the Rays' request and made a confidential recommendation to Munson, which likely indicates they felt a change was warranted. The official scorer, though, has the final say, and Munson did not change the call, so the matter is closed.

Crawford, who is hitting .301, said he feels the same way about finishing with his first .300 average. He said he thinks Rays officials are more interested in seeing him reach the milestones than he is, and he has no problem watching others play the few remaining games.

SPECIAL K: Manager Lou Piniella said the Rays may not decide until Friday whether rookie Scott Kazmir will make a 33rd and final start in Sunday's season finale.

They'd like to see him pick up another win and more strikeouts to improve his AL Rookie of the Year candidacy, but they don't want to overwork him as with 186 innings, he has already far exceeded his personal high for a season (1341/3 last year).

After Tuesday's win, Kazmir, 21, had thrown 3,298 pitches, seventh most in the AL. His ratio of 8.419 strikeouts per nine innings (174 in 186) was third in the league, better than Randy Johnson 's 8.368 (203 in 2181/3).

If Kazmir doesn't start, the Rays are likely to use a series of relievers.

EARLY VACATION: A sore shoulder forced an early end to his rookie season, but Chad Orvella said it did not diminish his accomplishment of jumping from Double A to the majors.

"I'm completely happy with how it turned out," he said. "I'm just kind of disappointed I wasn't able to finish with the team."

Orvella will be re-examined Friday by Rays team orthopedist Koco Eaton but said the only thing he has to do to get better is rest, and he expects to start his normal throwing program on schedule in December.

"I've passed all their tests," he said. "It's just inflammation."

MISCELLANY: The Rays are 6-3 against the Indians and won the season series for the first time. ... Three of the Rays' four shutouts have been 1-0, and two have been against the Indians at Jacobs Field. ... The Indians lost three straight for the first time since being swept by the Rays Aug.12-14. ... Danys Baez is two saves shy of Roberto Hernandez 's team record of 43. ... Seth McClung did not allow a run for the first time in 22 career starts. He is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA against the Indians. ... Cleveland starter Cliff Lee lost for the first time since July 8, snapping a nine-game winning streak.