|It was the day Carl Crawford became a Boston Red Sox (sort of)||02.28.11 at 6:00 pm ET|
(Carl Crawford’s first at-bat as a member of the Red Sox)
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Signing the contract was one thing. Conducting a press conference was another. And showing up to spring training offered a new perspective.
But the true reality check for Carl Crawford came Monday at City of Palms Park. That was when he played in a baseball game as a member of the Red Sox for the very first time.
“It felt good just to put on the uniform and get out on the field,” he said. “I was a little nervous at first, but I was just happy to get it out of the way.
“I was trying to take it all in. I was thinking about, ‘I’m actually in a Red Sox uniform.’ I was trying to take it all in and focus on the game at the same time.”
The actual game (a 7-6 Red Sox win over the Twins; for a recap, click here) was uneventful for Crawford, who played left field and hit third. He went 0-for-3, flying out to left field twice before striking out swinging against Minnesota lefty Glen Perkins.
But the results meant little on this day. Just being there was the thing. Take, for example, the dynamic of playing next to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
“We plan on taking away base hits,” Crawford said. “I think we’re going to thrive off each other. That’s definitely the goal, to take away as many base hits as possible.”
Then there was the talk regarding his spot in the lineup.
“That would be fine with me,” he said when asked about hitting third during the season. “I have no problem with it. I’m going to play the way I play no matter where he puts me … Anywhere I go, I’m going to play the way I play.”
Crawford was even asked about whether or not he had talked to the Angels’ Torii Hunter since signing with the Red Sox. His response, “No … At some point I’ll talk to him. We’re still cool.”
But perhaps the moment that symbolized the day came early in the morning, when Red Sox manager Terry Francona stopped by to say hi.
“He just looked at me, saw I was getting ready to go and said, ‘Man, I used to hate you.’ Yeah, I felt the same way too,” Crawford said. “It’s good we’re on the same team and we’re all together now.”
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