In treatment, Crawford's back improves

In treatment, Crawford's back improves

TORONTO -- Carl Crawford sounded more optimistic about his injured back on Wednesday.

The Rays left fielder still was not in the lineup, and he indicated he wouldn't feel comfortable playing, but he has seen improvement.

"It's still sore, but it feels better than it felt yesterday," Crawford said. "I'm going to try my best to be ready by Detroit. I can't say, but that's what I'm shooting for now."

Crawford left Monday night's game against the Blue Jays prior to taking the field in the bottom of the third inning, when his back tightened up and he felt pain. He has been receiving treatment since and with Wednesday off and the Rays having an off-day Thursday, he's hoping to be available when the Rays open a four-game series against the Tigers on Friday night in Detroit.

"Hopefully getting off this turf and having a couple of days of rest will help," Crawford said. "I moved around [Wednesday], got stretched out pretty good, did some laser stuff."

Even if he doesn't get back into the lineup Friday night, Crawford doesn't think the injury will linger.

"I don't think so. I'll be surprised if it does," he said.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he might consider looking at ways to give Crawford a break from playing too many consecutive games on the artificial surface, which can sometimes take its toll on a player.

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