Despite a lack of votes, Crawford a choice pick

AL notebook

June 04, 2006|By COMPILED FROM INTERVIEWS AND OTHER NEWSPAPERS' REPORTS.

The initial results of the American League All-Star voting came out last week and Tampa Bay Devil Rays left fielder Carl Crawford was nowhere to be found.

Again.

The league announces the top five vote-getters at each position, meaning 15 outfielders were on the list, including young Tampa Bay slugger Jonny Gomes. But Crawford, one of baseball's best all-around players, couldn't crack the leader board.

"I know the situation," said Crawford, who turns 25 in August. "I guess I have every right to be upset, but I know the situation. I know one day I'll make plenty of those games."

He then paused.

"Well, I don't want to say plenty, but I know I am a solid player and over time I'll make some."

Crawford's lone All-Star Game was in 2004, when he was added as the players' selection. If he were in New York or Boston, he would be a household name. Instead, he plays in obscurity - a boon to fantasy baseball owners but unknown to casual fans - and it shows in the All-Star balloting.

"Baseball is like that," he said. "You have to be a fan favorite. If you are not a fan favorite you are not going to be at [the All-Star Game]. But ask the coaches. If I have respect from the coaches and other players, I don't care about anything else."

After a mediocre April, Crawford batted .318 with four homers and 14 stolen bases in May. He won the most recent AL Player of the Week award. He's one of the league's best defensive outfielders and hardest workers. And he's on pace to become just the eighth player since 1900 to steal 200 bases before age 25.

He's so good that he has played his way into trade rumors. One recent Foxsports.com report speculated that the Devil Rays could make Crawford expendable because the club has a glut of young outfielders and he would bring in the biggest haul.

But Crawford, whose contract, with options, could keep him in Tampa Bay through 2010, said he expects to be a Devil Ray for years. And club management echoes that thought.

"I love CC. I hope he doesn't go anywhere but here," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't want to see [a trade] happen, absolutely not."

More control

Why would a top executive of a team that seemingly is always in the playoffs leave for the worst club in baseball? Well, new Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who will be formally introduced at a news conference Thursday, reportedly has in writing that he'll be given the final call on all baseball decisions as part of a contract that runs through 2010.

Moore had been an assistant to Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz and was thought to be in the mix to replace Schuerholz when he retires. Instead, Moore, 39, takes over a franchise that has lost 100 or more games in three of the past four years and currently has the major leagues' worst record. But at least he'll be in charge, right?

Quick hits

Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo returned to full-time duty last week after missing the first two months of the season with prostate cancer ... Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki set the Mariners' record for most consecutive games played with his 294th. The mark was held by former designated hitter Edgar Martinez ... Cleveland Indians ace C.C. Sabathia is 5-0 in seven starts against Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buehrle.

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