OF Baldelli likely headed to DL with hamstring strain
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Slumping Tampa Bay outfielder Rocco Baldelli could be headed for the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
The center fielder, who's in a 1-for-40 skid that's dropped his batting average to .204, left Tuesday night's 4-3 victory over Texas at Disney World after running out a grounder in the first inning.
Baldelli strained his right hamstring during spring training and was used mostly as a designated hitter for the first two weeks of the season. He will return to St. Petersburg on Thursday to undergo an MRI exam on his left hamstring.
"Hamstrings are one of those injuries that are difficult to put a finger on right away," Devil Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, adding that Baldelli likely will wind up on the DL.
"The good news is it's higher up in his leg, and that's better than it being lower. ... The one he had in spring training was the other leg. But it was lower, and that took him about 10 days."
Elijah Dukes replaced Baldelli in center field and batted leadoff against the Rangers on Wednesday night.
"We're going to be very smart and very cautious with it," Friedman said. "We're fortunate to have the depth that we do and the players that can step in. We want to ensure his long-term health."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press