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DL again beckons for Baldelli

Rocco Baldelli, sidelined by a hamstring injury for the third time in two seasons, is likely headed to the disabled list.

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published May 17, 2007


LAKE BUENA VISTA - Rocco Baldelli, sidelined by a hamstring injury for the third time in two seasons, is likely headed to the disabled list.

The centerfielder, who strained his left hamstring Tuesday while running up the first-base line during his first at-bat, is scheduled for an MRI exam this afternoon in St. Petersburg.

"My guess right now is that it's a DL situation, " executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "Just to be cautious, if (the MRI) comes back clean and he feels a lot better tomorrow then we won't, but my guess is that it will be."

Baldelli, in a 1-for-40 slump, missed the first two months last season with a strain in the same hamstring. He missed 10 days this season with a right hamstring strain. Friedman said it was reassuring that the strain is in the upper part of the hamstring, where the recovery time is significantly less, and not the lower as with the past two injuries. Still, if he goes on the DL he would miss at least two weeks and could miss up to six.

"We're going to be very smart and very cautious with it, " Friedman said.

Baldelli, who was seen by team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton before Wednesday's game, said the hamstring didn't "feel worse or better."

"I can't really tell, " he said. "It was pretty much the same as (Tuesday). I'm going to give it a little bit of time, and I'm going to take the MRI first, and that will pretty much spell out what it is."

If Baldelli is placed on the 15-day DL, it's likely the Rays would activate DH/1B Greg Norton, who has been dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.