ANAHEIM -- Carl Crawford looked to be in some pain at the beginning of the current nine-game road trip that began in Boston.
He arrived late to Boston and wasn't in the lineup for the first game of the trip because he had taken a detour to Birmingham, Ala., to see the team physician James Andrews. Crawford had an MRI that revealed no damage to his right knee, but he still had pain and faced the prospect of dealing with pain the remainder of the year.
Fortunately for Crawford, Boston, Texas and Anaheim all have natural surfaces. And gradually Crawford began to look a lot friskier on the bases. He had a triple in Texas and Monday night in Anaheim had two stolen bases, giving him 19 for the season and leaving him four shy of 300 for his career.
Now the Rays are two games from returning home for a nine-game homestand at Tropicana Field, where there seems to be a correlation between the artificial surface and Crawford's knee soreness.
He will miss four games of the homestand while serving his suspension from the fracas in Boston, which leaves five games he could play at home. So it's not likely the Rays will address ways to keep him off the artificial surface this time around. But it's a distinct possibility he could be used at DH more often during future home series in order to rest his knee.
Crawford, who has been taking an anti-inflammatory, said his knee feels at least 75 percent better and that he would be receptive to breaking up homestands with a night or two at DH.
"Oh, yeah, most definitely," Crawford said. "It'd be nice to do something. Ten games straight [at home], obviously, is not going to be good for me anymore. So we're going to have to come up with something. I don't know what [manager Joe Maddon's] planning to do, but we definitely have to come up with something."
Maddon said such a scenario is a possibility.
"He's such a good part of our defense," Maddon said. "But if it's necessary, I would absolutely do it. That just takes a conversation between me and him. And we have to stay on the same page. But I have no problem with that. I prefer him out there defensively, but if it's better for us in the long term, I would do it.
"He's looking fresher. No question. He's running better and the turf does bother him, there's no question about that."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.