tampabay.com

Wrist won't let Crawford swing bat

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published July 30, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - Rays LF Carl Crawford was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game Sunday with a strained right wrist, and it remains unclear when the All-Star will return because the injury is preventing him from swinging a bat.

Crawford entered Sunday's game against the Red Sox as a defensive substitution in the ninth inning but was unavailable to hit.

"I'm just leaving it alone right now because it hurts just to grip the bat," Crawford said after the 5-2 win. "I haven't even picked up a bat."

Said Rays manager Joe Maddon: "He's still not quite ready to swing the bat."

Crawford downplayed the injury, saying he didn't believe he would have to go on the disabled list, but admitted he wouldn't know for sure until he had an MRI exam scheduled for this morning.

"This is the worst it's ever hurt," Crawford said. "I've never hurt my wrist like this before."

KAZ-TASTIC: Rays LHP Scott Kazmir continued his excellence against the Red Sox with six shutout innings.

Kazmir, who allowed six hits and struck out eight, lowered his career ERA against Boston to 2.58. Over the past 50 years, only five other pitchers with 10 or more starts against Boston have lower ERAs.

"It's one of the best lineups in baseball," Kazmir said. "You have to get up for this."

AKI VS. DICE-K: After striking out three times in his first game against Red Sox RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka on July 3, Rays 3B Akinori Iwamura responded with two hits Sunday, including a single to right on Matsuzaka's first pitch.

Iwamura expected more fastballs from Matsuzaka during their first meeting. This time he saw Matsuzaka throwing more fastballs instead of breaking balls. Iwamura said he expected to see Matsuzaka's approach change slightly because Doug Mirabelli was catching him for the first time.

"It was a little bit different, but not too much," Iwamura said through interpreter Masa Koyanagi.

BEN BACK: Maddon said SS Ben Zobrist, recalled Saturday after INF Ty Wigginton was traded to Houston, will primarily play at shortstop in a reserve role but also might try second and third.

Zobrist said he last played second base in college for one season and played third base for one game in Double A last season.

"I haven't really done it much before, but I'm definitely up for the challenge," Zobrist said.

MINOR MATTERS: Double-A Montgomery RHP Wade Davis suffered his first loss of the season Saturday night despite allowing just two runs on four hits and two walks over 62/3 innings, striking out seven. ... RHP Tim Corcoran pitched a scoreless inning with Montgomery in his third rehab appearance Saturday.

MISCELLANY: With Sunday's crowd of 34,813, this weekend's three-game series drew a total of 104,005, the highest three-game series total at the Trop since Aug. 6-8, 1999 vs. Cleveland, when Wade Boggs recorded his 3,000th hit. ... Manny Ramirez's solo homer in the eighth was his 40th against the Rays and 25th at the Trop, both all-time opponent highs. ... Reliever Jae Kuk Ryu was optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room for RHP Dan Wheeler, who will join the team today.