The Tampa Bay Rays have placed outfielder Carl Crawford (finger) on the 15-day disabled list, due to a right middle finger tendon subluxation, according to Bill Chastain of Rays.MLB.com. His status for the remainder of the year is unknown.
To replace Crawford on the 25-man roster, the Rays activated injury-prone outfielder Rocco Baldelli from the 15-day disabled list.
While facing Seattle Mariners closer J.J. Putz during the 10th inning of the game Saturday, Aug. 9, Crawford felt something pop while checking his swing on a 3-1 pitch. He is expected to return to Tampa Monday, Aug. 11, to be examined by a hand specialist, but the Mariners' team doctor told him the injury could keep him out for six to eight weeks if surgery is not required. If it is necessary, it could put him out for the rest of the year.
The All-Star left fielder is batting .273 with eight home runs, 57 RBIs and 25 steals this year. He had just returned to the lineup Thursday, Aug. 7, after missing several games earlier in the week with a hamstring injury.
Crawford should be stashed on all rosters if possible despite his dire prognosis for the season. If you need a healthy player to replace him in your daily lineup and your team doesn't have sufficient disabled list spots, you could drop him.
Outfielder Eric Hinske is expected to take Crawford's starting spot for now. He's hitting .241 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs with eight stolen bases on the year. He should be targeted in deep mixed leagues as he also filled in admirably for first baseman Carlos Pena, who missed time earlier in the season.
Baldelli has not played at the major league level since May 2007 due to a fatigue-related illness and a strained hamstring that bothered him last season. He had been expected to perform a limited role for the team upon his return, but this could change due to Crawford's injury.
If he returns to the form he displayed in 2006 - when he hit .302-15-67 in 92 games - he is worthy of consideration as a replacement for Crawford in your fantasy league if the team gives him frequent playing time. Keep an eye on him in deep mixed setups but pick him up immediately in AL-only formats.
Since the trade deadline has already passed in many fantasy leagues, your best bet to find a decent replacement is in free agency. In order to make up for the lack of stolen bases, possible outfield targets would be the San Francisco Giants' Randy Winn (.290-5-43 with 22 stolen bases), the Kansas City Royals' David DeJesus (.297-10-56 with 10 steals) or the Minnesota Twins' Denard Span (.322-2-18 with seven swipes). These players should provide similar, if not equal, production in the meantime.
About Jared Byrd
Byrd has served as a Hot Off the Wire Analyst with KFFL since 2003,
covering both the NFL and MLB. A recent graduate of the University of
Pennsylvania, he has played fantasy football since 1997, and fantasy
baseball, basketball, and hockey since 2001.
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