|Carl Crawford still healing from wounds of 2011||02.20.12 at 2:49 pm ET|
FORT MYERS — Carl Crawford showed off the scars from his offseason surgery on his left wrist to reporters, two small circles – one on the outside and another on the top.
Crawford made a bold prediction of sorts Monday, telling everyone standing at his locker inside the Red Sox clubhouse that he thinks he can be ready for Opening Day April 5 in Detroit.
“In my mind, I think the odds are good because I definitely don’t want to miss any games. That’s my goal right now, to make it for opening day,” Crawford said.
“I don’t exactly know when it will be all the way healthy, but, right now, it definitely feels better than it was and I’m going to continue to build the strength up.”
The scars from what Red Sox owner John Henry said in October about him might be a lot harder to heal.
Sporting his typical good-natured smile and relaxed temperament, Crawford acknowledged Monday in his first spring training media session that he was stunned and upset with the offseason comments from Henry that he didn’t want Crawford in Boston when he was a free agent following the 2010 season. The outfielder was subsequently signed to a seven-year, $142 million contract by then-general manager Theo Epstein before the 2011 season.
“I can’t do nothing about what he said,” Crawford said. “I can just go out and play. It was unfortunate that he feels that way but there’s nothing for me to say to him but go out and play.”
Crawford was asked if he were surprised that the owner would come out and publicly acknowedge those feelings.
“I wasn’t happy about it,” Crawford said. “I was a little surprised to hear the comments but like I said, it’s unfortunate he feels that way. I just wish those words hadn’t come out.”
Crawford hit .155 in his first month in a Red Sox uniform, was dropped to seventh in the batting order by Terry Francona and never seemed to recover. He did manage to hit .255 in 506 at-bats, with 11 homers and 56 RBIs, with an OPS of .694.
“It will definitely be a key factor and one of the reasons why I’m here and motivated. It’s definitely going to motivate me to play well this year. I don’t even want to think about last year too much because it was so bad I don’t think there’s nothing you can do this year to make up for it. So, you just have to forget about it and go out and play hard and hope to do well this year.”
Crawford was asked about the clubhouse chemistry after last September. He quickly turned it into one of the funnier moments of his 15-minute session with reporters.
“I guess you’re talking about the chicken and the beer,” Crawford laughed. “I’m on the field. I really didn’t know what was going on with that. It was kind of a surprise for me but the pitchers have so much time on their hands and they’ve had so much success doing it the way they’ve done it. Who knows what they might have done [in the clubhouse]. But it didn’t really impact us. It wasn’t like guys were complaining. It didn’t have an impact on the clubhouse too much.
“You want to stay positive, that’s for sure. I think guys are going to rally around that chicken and beer thing and come together and just be one. We’re going to stay positive. The only thing I can do is stay positive and hope for the best.
Told he seemed to be the only player in the clubhouse to utter the words “beer and chicken” Crawford laughed and replied, “Hey, it is what it is. When I heard the stories, I couldn’t believe you guys [media] knew about it. That was a surprise. It’s just one of those things that’s it’s unfortunate that it had to happened but you just try to move on from it.”
As for the much-publicized criticism his new manager Bobby Valentine had for his batting stance, Crawford was quick to recognize Valentine’s professional obligations.
“That’s his job, to do stuff like that on TV,” Crawford said of Bobby V’s ESPN gig. “I kind of understand how that goes,” Crawford said. “I’m playing for him now as a manager. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t feel that way. It’s just stuff you have to say on TV. Me and Bobby have no hard feelings. We both share a common goal, and that’s trying to help the Red Sox win.
“I think I’ll shorten that a little bit,” he said. “It seemed like I was late all the time on the ball, so I’ll try to do a better job of getting ready — little stuff like that that’s going to help me get over the hump from last year.”
This season promises be a lot different for Carl Crawford.
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