Crawford returns to Rays' lineup

Crawford returns

SEATTLE -- Jason Bartlett sat Thursday, while Carl Crawford returned to the lineup.

Bartlett left Sunday's game after being hit on the right index finger while attempting to bunt against Detroit's Fernando Rodney in the 10th. He missed Monday's and Tuesday's games before playing Wednesday as the DH and going 3-for-4.

But he's still not quite ready for a return to shortstop due to the swelling in his finger that makes throwing painful. And with tough right-hander Felix Hernandez on the mound Thursday night, Cliff Floyd was used as the DH.

"Feels a lot better today," Bartlett said. "I'm not in there today, but I'm going to try to get in there tomorrow."

Crawford sat out the past three games with a sore left hamstring.

"It's a mild strain, so there's still something going on," Crawford said. "I feel safer playing on the grass for a couple of weeks, hoping it will get better."

Crawford said the three-day rest helped him heal to the point where he felt like he was 85 percent before Thursday night's game.

"That should be good enough," said Crawford, who has an eight-game hitting streak in which he has hit .355.

Bartlett's return will likely set into motion a chain reaction that will see Rocco Baldelli activated. A player will have to be sent down to make room on the roster. Ben Zobrist is the most likely choice, since he was brought up after Bartlett was injured.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.