|Carl Crawford on the boos: ‘That’s my little theme now wherever I go’||07.12.12 at 11:08 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET — Carl Crawford could at least joke about it.
Fans in Pawtucket for the second straight year booed the Red Sox star outfielder for a miscue, this time not running out of the batter’s box on a pop fly that fell fair down the left-field line. He got a single, not a double, and failed to score because of it in the third inning of Pawtucket’s 8-5 loss to the Buffalo Bisons at McCoy Stadium Thursday night.
“I was nervous today,” Crawford admitted after going 2-for-3 with a run scored. “I don’t know if I’ll be nervous on the first day [back in Boston] but I’ll probably be a little nervous, probably nerves build up. I’m sure I’ll have a few butterflies.”
That first day back is still slated for Monday night against the White Sox at Fenway Park. But on Thursday, he admitted he felt nerves the first time up, when he showed bunt for strike one and waved at strike two before grounding out to second.
“I was nervous the first at-bat,” said Crawford, who had his pop fly moment in the next at-bat in the third. “The second at-bat, that just happened, so I was as really nerved up the second at-bat. Just being back out on the field, just being back here in Pawtucket. I remember I got booed here last year so I had to worry about that again. It’s kind of my little theme now wherever I go. Last year, it did, now I’m just trying to block all that stuff out.”
On a more serious note, Crawford said he hasn’t been contacted by any authorities after a fan allegedly hurled a racial slur his way in Manchester, N.H., during a Double-A game with Portland. The man who is said to have uttered the slur reportedly is a member of the Leominster police force.
“I just want to put all that stuff behind me,” Crawford said. “Whatever happens with that, that’s old news to me.”
The status of his left elbow is news. He adjusted his throwing mechanics to take more stress off the elbow — any little advantage to avoid Tommy John surgery.
“I’m just trying to have the proper mechanics, more like what you’ll see a pitcher do,” he said. “They throw the right way and they don’t really have problems because they’re not throwing awkward. I was throwing in a way that was putting strain on my elbow. I’m just trying to throw the right way.
“Definitely frustrating for me because I definitely want to be out there and it’s hard. I’m not a guy who likes to make a lot of excuses. I want to be out there but at the same time I have to be careful and it’s a fine line with trying to explain why you’re not out there and why you’re still on the sideline.”
The most encouraging words came when Crawford was asked how he feels about returning on Monday.
“I feel like I’m closer than I ever was before early on in the year,” said Crawford, who’s battled wrist, elbow and groin issues on his path back. “At this point in my time, it’s time to get out on the field and see what I can do.
“[The elbow] never really gave me any problems when I’m swinging. I’m not worried at all about my elbow at the plate. When I’m throwing, I just said, ‘Whenever it happens, it happens,’ but I’m not going to hold back once I get on the field. If I take that field, I’m going to go all out.”
And, barring any setback on Friday or Saturday in Pawtucket, that is still on track to be Monday.
“It’s a little concern but at the same time, like I said, once I cross the white lines, I’m not going to worry about it,” Crawford said. “I feel like the expectations are always going to be high, so my thing is to play within myself and not worry about all that. Hopefully, I ‘m doing the things I normally do and helping the team win and getting the team back in the race.”
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