|Michael Bourn: Carl Crawford ‘still one of the best out there’||07.09.12 at 9:34 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — Most of the forecasts about Carl Crawford have been filled with pessimism in recent days. After all, the injured outfielder’s recent proclamation that he could blow out his elbow at any time, thus requiring Tommy John surgery, created an air of doubt about what kind of contribution he can make this year.
But there was at least one perspective from the All-Star Game that gave a more optimistic view of what the outfielder — currently in the second season of a seven-year, $142 million contract — might be able to contribute going forward this year. That came from Michael Bourn, the Braves outfielder who grew up with Crawford in Houston and who has played baseball with his Red Sox compatriot since his introduction to the game.
“That’s somebody I’ve seen since he was a little kid,” said Bourn, currently enjoying a career year with a .311 average, .366 OBP, .451 slugging mark and .817 OPS, all career bests. “When you see someone playing since he was a little kid and he became the player he became, it’s totally different.”
Bourn and Crawford (the latter of whom is expected to return to start a new rehab assignment on Thursday with Triple-A Pawtucket) continue to work out together in the offseason. Based on what he knows of his good friend, Bourn thinks that Crawford still can impact the Sox when he returns to the majors.
“I think he’ll bounce back. That’s just somebody I believe in. I do. People can say what they want, but I know what kind of player and athlete he is. I’ve been watching him play since he was a little bitty boy. I just think Boston got a great talent,” said Bourn. “You’ve still got the same talented player who’s close to 2,000 hits (1,609 to be exact), got I don’t know how many home runs, plays the game hard every day in left field. To me, he’s still one of the best out there. People just forget about it if you happen to have an injury or something that affects you. … I don’t think [the Red Sox] made a bad decision at all. He’s still a great talent to have on their team.”
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