tampabay.com

Crawford expects to return quickly from ankle injury

By MARC TOPKIN
Published July 22, 2007


NEW YORK - All-Star LF Carl Crawford does everything fast. Now he's hoping to heal quickly after what Devil Rays officials called a "mild" sprain of his left ankle that forced him from Saturday's matinee.

Crawford missed Saturday's nightcap and said he "probably" won't play until Tuesday in Baltimore, allowing him to take advantage of Monday's off day.

Crawford said precautionary X-rays were negative and, though he was limping and wearing an air brace between games, the injury was not serious.

"I don't think it's bad or nothing," Crawford said. "It's just day to day right now. ... I don't think I'm going to be on the DL or nothing like that, that's for sure."

He jammed his foot on the side of first base while beating out an infield single in the third.

He waved off manager Joe Maddon and trainer Ron Porterfield when they came out to check on him that inning, but after having the ankle taped and playing two innings in the field, he acknowledged he was in enough pain to leave. Greg Norton pinch-hit for him in the fifth.

"It was throbbing and aching both, just uncomfortable," Crawford said. "It didn't swell up. It's just sore."

TEAM PLAYER: RHP Jay Witasick said he felt something odd in his right elbow early in what became a 47-pitch sixth inning and noticed some swelling (which grew to the size of a golf ball), but with the Rays short on arms he was determined to finish the inning.

Today he'll find out the extent of the damage and is likely headed to the disabled list.

Witasick felt something unusual after throwing the second of two breaking balls but was able to continue to throw his fastball, and he didn't say anything when pitching coach Jim Hickey went to the mound.

"There was no coming out of the game," Witasick, 34, said. "I don't care. These are old parts."

GETTING WIGGY: There was plenty of talk Saturday but no action on a potential trade of Ty Wigginton to the Yankees for reliever Scott Proctor.

Yankees manager Joe Torre didn't exactly dispel the notion by saying they could use a versatile player with a good bat - just like Wigginton.

"You'd like to have someone that could be someone you could plug in, with the ability so there's not a big drop off," Torre said.

J.P. DUTY: Veteran backup C Josh Paul, out since May 20 with a left elbow strain, could be back as soon as Friday. Paul, 3-for-19 in five rehab games for advanced Class A Vero Beach, is scheduled to move up to Double-A Montgomery on Monday. RHP Tim Corcoran, out since June 9 with a right elbow strain, is expected to join him.

C Shawn Riggans, out since June 2 with a right elbow problem, is not progressing as quickly and seems likely to remain at Triple-A Durham. "He needs to go out and play and play well and then we'll see what we've got," Maddon said.

MISCELLANY: LHP Casey Fossum plans to fly to Tampa tonight to be with his wife for the birth of their third child, with labor scheduled to be induced Tuesday. ... B.J. Upton has reached base in all 10 games since coming off the DL. ... Crawford set a team record by stealing a base in five straight games.