Notes: Crawford resting

Notes: Crawford resting

ST. PETERSBURG -- After playing in 131 games this season, Carl Crawford deserves a little rest once in a while. The left fielder will get two days in a row this time around, thanks to being given Wednesday night off and Thursday's off-day. And that's exactly the way manager Joe Maddon planned it.

"He's been struggling a little bit at the plate, I just want him to take a step back," Maddon said. "He always seems to respond well, I just thought it was a good time."

Crawford owns a team-high .303 batting average, but is hitting just .108 (4-for-37) over his last 10 games. Maddon said he wants his team to finish the season on a good note and win as many games as possible in September, and hopes his outfielder will arrive at the ballpark refreshed on Friday and ready to do battle with the American League West-leading Athletics.

Ty Wigginton took Crawford's spot in left field on Wednesday.

Shortstop Ben Zobrist also picked up some rest time. Maddon had originally planned for Zobrist, who joined the team from Triple-A Durham on Aug. 1, to get a day off much earlier in that month, but a shortage of players kept him from doing so.

"We're fine now, we have enough guys now with the callups, so this was the perfect opportunity to give him the extra day," Maddon said.

Rocco recognized: Center fielder Rocco Baldelli was honored in an on-field ceremony prior to Wednesday's game after being selected as this year's Rays nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award. He was presented with a commemorative trophy, as well as a $2,500 check to donate toward the charity of his choice. Baldelli then handed his check over to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), whose purpose is to bring about a clearer understanding of the issues surrounding food allergies and anaphylaxis. Baldelli's youngest brother, Dante, suffers from severe allergies.

Meadows follows suit: Closer Brian Meadows was announced as his teammates' nomination for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, recognized annually as the player whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to high levels of achievement.

Meadows contributes to the March of Dimes, and is a part of the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. He makes a donation to the foundation for every outing, strikeout and save he records.

Fan voting is available on through Sunday, where one finalist from each of the six divisions will be selected, and then included as part of the annual Players Choice Awards balloting Sept. 12-13 at all the ballparks.

Familiar face returns: Pitcher Shinji Mori rejoined his teammates in the clubhouse this week, and it was announced he'd finish up the season by rehabbing with Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. Mori tore his labrum in his right shoulder during Spring Training and has been on the disabled list ever since.

... and one departs: Left-hander Casey Fossum will undergo season-ending surgery on the frayed labrum in his throwing arm and rotator cuff at 8 a.m. ET on Friday in St. Petersburg. Dr. Koco Eaton will perform the procedure, which Fossum said he should be recovered from fully in 5-6 months.

"Dr. [James] Andrews said it wasn't as bad as the first time. There was a tear last time," said Fossum, who had a similar procedure done after the 2003 season. "I'll be here rehabbing all offseason.

"They'll go in there and clean it up, and it looks like I should be ready to go for Spring Training. I got it early enough where it gives me time to come back for spring."

Momentary panic: Shawn Riggans singled in his first big-league at-bat on Tuesday night, something he said he'd remember forever. It's understandable then, when he felt his stomach drop just a little though as he watched teammate Tomas Perez flip the commemorative ball into the crowd behind the dugout.

Or so he thought.

Perez had actually switched balls on purpose, just to give the rookie a scare. He later presented the catcher with the real ball, and all was well again.

"I knew he wouldn't really do that to me," Riggans said.

Youngster keeps steady pace: Reliever Juan Salas, who joined the team on Tuesday from Triple-A Durham, saw his first action on Tuesday night and left Maddon impressed. The righty allowed three runs (two earned) in his one inning against Minnesota during the 8-0 loss, but Maddon said a big part of the debut was how Salas remained fairly unruffled on the mound.

"I thought he was calm," Maddon said. "Watching him chewing gum, I thought he kept the same pace on his chewing gum. So I thought that was a good sign. Even when he got hot, he didn't speed up his chewing. That's nice."

Did you know? A Rays loss to Minnesota on Wednesday would seal their first home sweep suffered this season, although Tampa Bay has been swept on the road seven times this year -- five of those coming after the All-Star break.

He said it: "Riggans, not a bad time to retire, huh? You're hittin' 1.000." --Rays batting practice pitcher Scott McNulty

Up next: Tampa Bay has Thursday off before hosting AL West-leading Oakland for a weekend set. Right-hander James Shields (6-6, 4.38 ERA) will get the ball for the Rays, and Athletics righty Danny Haren (12-11, 3.88 ERA) will oppose him. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.

Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.