Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rocco Baldelli Returns to Rays But Still Impaired

Rays outfielder-designated hitter Rocco Baldelli -- returning from the 60-day disabled list after suffering from a rare muscle disorder -- has started out at a fast clip in limited play, but still has a way to go before reaching 100 percent.

Though Baldelli recently hit his first home run and is batting .300 in his first 20 at-bats, he continues to feel fatigued, so much so that he holds himself out of practice to save energy for game action, he told The St. Petersburg Times.

"Playing two games in three days, playing in the field, was a little rough on my body," Baldelli said. "...It was difficult. I'm not going to say it was easy."

Baldelli has played the field but is being limited largely to pinch hitting and starting as designated hitter against lefties. He continues to feel tired not only because of his extended layoff, but because of medication he is taking to hold off the manifestations of his rare muscle affliction.

Baldelli went on the disabled list March 28 with a mitochondrial disorder that affects the chemical composition of the blood stream, thus slowing muscle recovery after activity.