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Is Bobby Valentine turning Carl Crawford into a bunting machine?

02.29.12 at 4:30 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ For Carl Crawford, something good might come out of this wrist injury after all.

The outfielder, who has been limited in his participating throughout spring training after wrist surgery, has been using his time to work on what has previously been an untapped aspect of his game: bunting for a hit.

‘€œIt’€™s something he wants to do,’€ Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ‘€œHe thinks it will open up the field for him a little more. I’€™m sure it would. He’€™s not swinging as much. He kind of overdid it yesterday. He was actually sore from what I’€¦ He did two rounds of bunting from what I gathered. If he practices a mechanic there, I think he’€™ll be good. But he didn’€™t have one coming into camp.’€

Valentine has not only worked on the art of bunting for a base hit out on the fields with Crawford, but the manager has also exposed his left fielder to video of some fairly prominent bunters, Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo. Pierre, for instance, has more bunt hits (154) since 2003 than any player in the big leagues.

‘€œThere really isn’€™t much for me to do, and that’€™s something I can get better at, so I’€™m just trying it right now,’€ Crawford said. ‘€œHe showed me some video from other guys who bunt really well. There isn’€™t one way to do it, so we’€™re trying to find out what’€™s comfortable for me.’€

Crawford had at least attempted to utilize his speed via bunts early on his career, although without much success. In his first five seasons, the lefty hitter came away with just 18 hits in 100 bunt attempts. The next five years he pretty much abandoned the practice, notching three hits in 21 bunt attempts, going 0-for-2 in 2011.

‘€œI think I could always get better at it, I just never felt comfortable doing it,’€ he said. ‘€œI probably got the reputation of not wanting to do it. If you’€™re not comfortable the way somebody is teaching it to you, you’€™re not going to be comfortable. We’€™ve just been trying to find that comfort zone.

‘€œLast year I don’€™t think I tried to lay down many bunts for base hits, so that should open things up for me a little bit more.’€

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