TORONTO -- Outfielder Joe Carter experienced increased swelling in his injured right ankle, but played last night in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, going 0-for-5, including three strikeouts.
Carter, who sprained his ankle when he crashed into the right-field fence in Friday night's 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins, underwent precautionary X-rays yesterday and declared himself healthy enough to stay in the lineup.
He was not, however, healthy enough to return to right field, so manager Cito Gaston penciled him into the lineup as the designated hitter.
"There is a lot of pain," Carter said, "but it's something I feel I can play with. I've come this far and I don't want this leg to hold me back. I've got the whole off-season to recuperate. I don't think I can hurt myself and I do feel I can help the team."
Carter owns the second-longest active playing streak in the major leagues -- though at 505 consecutive games he is far behind Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken (1,573). Postseason games don't count, but the principle remains the same for the Blue Jays' most productive hitter.
"I'm not worried about the streak," he said. "I just go out and play. When people come to the stadium they expect to see me play, and I expect myself to play. If there comes a time where I would be hurting the team by playing, I won't be out there."
The ankle sprain has been rated as "mild to moderate" by Blue Jays orthopedist Dr. Allan Gross -- bad enough to keep the
average player out of action for several days.