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Carl Crawford on D&C: Yankees were ‘never an option’

02.23.11 at 9:58 am ET
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New Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford has been a hit with the fans at spring training. (AP)

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford appeared on the set of the Dennis & Callahan show in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday. He talked about how he’s fitting in so far and why he came to Boston instead of New York. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Crawford said the assimilation process for him and Adrian Gonzalez has been smooth so far. “It’s real good,” he said. “They’re showing a lot of love. We’re fitting in really well and just trying to find our place around the clubhouse.”

Crawford said he isn’t worried about the high expectations fans have for him. “Just go out there and play my best,” he said. “The expectations don’t worry me like that. Just go out there and be myself, and I should be fine.”

Crawford also talked about his decision to sign with the Red Sox. He said he wanted to stay in the American League East because he was already familiar with the pitchers, cities and stadiums, but he said the Yankees were never really an option.

“To be honest with you, I never talked to New York,” Crawford said. “They never offered me a contract. I never had any kind of communication with New York, so it was never an option to go to New York.

Cliff Lee was their first choice. I didn’t want to be somebody’s backup plan. I wanted to go to a place where they wanted me just as bad as I wanted to go there.”

Crawford dismissed the notion that him leaving Tampa was like LeBron James leaving Cleveland. “No, I didn’t LeBron them at all,” he said. “This situation was different. The thing with Tampa is I never got a contract offer from them either, so it was like I had to go. They gave me no choice. It was totally different.”

Last week, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said on D&C that the team had scouted Crawford on and off the field. Crawford responded that it sounded creepy to have someone monitoring his off-field behavior, but on Wednesday he downplayed it.

“I understand why they did it, and it wasn’t like anything negative,” he said. “That’s just the way I felt. That’s pretty much it. I never had anything like that happen before. It’s a process. They explained to me that they do that to all the guys. It’s just something they have to do. It wasn’t a big deal at all. It just was different.”

There has been some speculation that Crawford, who has 45 or more steals in seven of the last eight seasons, won’t be able to steal as much in a lineup as strong as Boston’s, but he said he doesn’t plan to change his game at all.

“That’s my game,” Crawford said. “They don’t want me to change nothing. They just want me to come out and play hard and get better. I try to get better every year. I’m going to try to play the way I’ve been playing and hopefully I can get a little bit better at it.”

He said he does plan to talk to whoever is hitting behind him, though, to make sure his baserunning doesn’t bother them just as much as it bothers the pitcher.

“Yeah, I know that can happen sometimes,” Crawford said. “That’s why, personally, I ask the guy hitting behind me, ‘What can I do to not distract you while you’re up? Do you want me to get a shorter lead or a bigger lead?’ I try to help the hitter out as much as possible.”

Crawford said he doesn’t know where in the lineup he’ll be hitting yet, but he said he’s fine with wherever Terry Francona puts him. “I don’t know where I’m going to be yet. He hasn’t talked to me about it. I’ll just have to wait and see and play wherever he puts me.”

Read More: adrian gonzalez, carl crawford, Terry Francona, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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