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Bobby Valentine is happy Carl Crawford showed fans he’s still ‘a very good player’

08.21.12 at 9:32 pm ET
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Carl Crawford hopes to get back into the swing in 2013 after Tommy John surgery. (AP)

Carl Crawford is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday.

On Tuesday, Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine said he feels very happy that Crawford got a chance to show his value to a fan base that has doubted his abilities ever since he signed his seven-year, $142 million deal before the 2011 season.

“We’ll miss Carl. I’m really happy Carl got the games in that he got in,” Valentine said of Crawford’s 31 games in 2012. “I’m really happy he had the success that he had. I think Carl now can feel that at least he showed the fans in at least a small way but in an everyday way that he’s a very good player. And I think he needed to do that.”

Crawford, indeed, showed he can still perform at a high level, batting .282 in those 31 games with three homers and 19 RBIs. His OBP was .306 and his slugging percentage was a respectable .479. Perhaps most impressive is the fact he scored 23 runs in his 31 games dating back to his first game back on July 16 against the White Sox.

Position players like Mike Aviles have said they could recover from Tommy John surgery in seven months but full strength really doesn’t start to come back until nine months out, which begs the question: Was coming back for a month to show fans he can still be a good player really worth it if it means missing part of 2013?

“I guess if that happens to be the case later,” Valentine said. “That wasn’t part of the plan. But if that’s what it is, yeah, it’s a good trade-off.”

Now, Valentine’s situation is back to exactly where it was when the season began – filling in left field without Carl Crawford.

“I guess I see it like when Carl was out prior,” Valentine said. “Luckily, Daniel Nava was just about finished with his rehab, we have Daniel, we have Scott Podsednik and they’ll do just fine. They’re good players.”

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