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Michael Bourn: Carl Crawford ‘still one of the best out there’ 07.09.12 at 9:34 pm ET
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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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Carl Crawford wants to play through the pain, Bobby V on the first half and other Red Sox notes 07.08.12 at 9:39 pm ET
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Carl Crawford admitted Sunday that most likely he’s going to eventually need “Tommy John” surgery on his ailing left elbow but said he is trying to play through pain to impress the team that is paying him $142 million over seven years.

‘€œThought about it but at this point, if I can play, I think [the Red Sox] want me out on the field,” Crawford said before Sunday’s finale with Yankees. “I’€™m just trying to do everything I can to get back out on the field. Right now, I feel like if I couldn’€™t help the team I wouldn’€™t get out there.

‘€œProbably at some point it’€™s going to blow out on me. It’€™s one of those things that is what it is.’€

As for his slight strain of his groin earlier this week, Crawford said it won’t keep him from playing on Thursday in Pawtucket.

‘€œJust treating it and staying stretched out and still doing stuff to make sure I’€™m ready to go,” Crawford said. “The thing is, I do that every year. It’€™s like spring training for me, so I’€™m starting back running again, and I always get tight in that area. It’€™s just one of those things that it always happens to me. We’€™re just taking care of it. I know how things are around here: Once you say one little thing, it goes way bigger than what it really is. That’€™s it pretty much.”

Crawford’s mood was very upbeat and optimistic about playing in the second half of the season, despite the left elbow.

‘€œI actually feel good, man,” he said. “That’€™s the thing. I’€™m ready to get back on the field. I was making progress in the games I was playing and feeling really good about that. At this point, I’€™m just ready to get back on the field.

“I think helping the team right now is probably best for me. It doesn’€™t really hurt when I throw in action. It’€™s weird. It’€™s like when I’€™m warming up, it’€™s a little sore. But when I’€™m in action making a throw, it doesn’€™t really bother me as much.

‘€œIt doesn’€™t hurt at all when I swing a bat. If there was some pain there, I’€™d probably have to sit down. I feel like I’€™m real close. I feel good, feel like I can help the team out. That’€™s what I’€™m going to try to do when I get back.

‘€œWe’€™ve got some guys coming back: me and [Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew Bailey]. Hopefully Bard will be back up here at some point. We feel like we can still make a run at it. That new wild card has made it possible for teams to make it late in the season. Hopefully that’€™s the case for us.”

Still, the Red Sox have Crawford on track to make it back to playing sometime in the second half of the season.

“Carl might play Thursday at Pawtucket, and he’s feeling pretty good,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.

This week, Crawford suffered another setback in his minor league rehab assignment as he had minor tightness in his groin. Crawford said Sunday he’€™s hoping to play Thursday at Triple-A Pawtucket and is believes is “very close” to rejoining the Red Sox. ‘€œCarl might play Thursday at Pawtucket, and he’€™s feeling pretty good.’€

Valentine was asked to reflect on the first half of the season on Sunday, as the team attempts to deal with injury after injury.

‘€œI would say that it was extremely challenging,” Valentine said. “I don’€™t know how to rate it or anything, but major league baseball is very challenging. Managing a new team is very challenging and we had some situations that added to the mix.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury
Red Sox pregame notes: Carl Crawford’s rehab assignment stopped due to ‘mild left groin strain’ 07.07.12 at 1:12 pm ET
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Carl Crawford just can’€™t seem to catch a break. The left fielder suffered what the team described as a ‘€œmild left groin strain’€ on Thursday while rounding second on his way to recording a triple.

Now that Crawford has a new injury to recover from, his rehab assignment will be stopped, giving him a few days off to recover. According to MLB rules, Crawford cannot play another rehab game until five days after the injury, which means that he cannot play again until Wednesday.

‘€œHe hit a triple the night before and when he turned second he just felt a little twinge there,’€ said Bobby Valentine. ‘€œSo his rehab is taking a couple days off from hitting and playing. But he is going to go right back to hitting and start hitting again soon in a game ‘€¦ It’€™s a preventative thing to make sure it doesn’€™t get worse.

Crawford also said that there are ‘€œstill some issues’€ with his elbow on Friday, raising concern that he will not be 100 percent ready when he returns to Boston. However, Valentine denied that the elbow issues have raised a ‘€œred flag.’€

‘€œI think we have to manage that situation as he plays,’€ Valentine said. ‘€œIt’€™s maybe just a caution flag.’€

Another Red Sox player recovering from an injury is Will Middlebrooks, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered on July 1 in Seattle. Valentine noted that Middlebrooks is close to returning, but that he would like to be careful with the injury. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carl crawford, Red Sox, vicente padilla, Will Middlebrooks
Dustin Pedroia says he ‘heals great’, Will Middlebrooks feels better and other Red Sox notes 07.06.12 at 8:43 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia went on the disabled list Friday afternoon but the Red Sox are hoping Will Middlebrooks won’t be following him with a sore left hamstring.

Pedroia was sporting a hard cast on his right hand to protect his thumb while Middlebrooks took batting practice on Friday after a sluggish off-day on Thursday when he reported to Fenway to test his left hamstring.

“Will was out [Thursday],” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “He felt about 70 percent. He felt just OK. He ran [before Friday’s game], he felt closer to 100 percent so that’s where he is. He’s close. There’s a chance he could pinch-hit for sure this weekend.”

Middlebrooks – a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year with 10 homers, 37 RBIs and a .298 batting average – hasn’t played since Sunday’s 2-1 win in Seattle, sitting out all three games in Oakland with the tightness in the back of his left leg.

As for Pedroia, the Red Sox released a formal statement just after placing the second baseman on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb injury. The team made a point of noting that this injury is new and unrelated to the torn adductor on the same thumb earlier this season. That injury, according to the team, has healed. Pedroia injured the thumb diving for a pop fly single to shallow right field in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss in Oakland.

Dustin Pedroia hyperextended his right thumb on July 3, 2012,” the statement read. “He was examined by the Red Sox medical staff and an MRI was performed. Dustin sustained an injury to the volar plate of his right thumb. Dustin will be treated conservatively with a brief period of immobilization. The previous injury to his right thumb adductor muscle has completely healed. This was confirmed by MRI.”

[Click here to listen to Dustin Pedroia explain his latest stint on the DL with a thumb injury.]

Pedroia was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Wednesday while Pedro Ciriaco was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place.

Pedroia said he wasn’t surprised that his previous injury had completely healed, citing his recent production at the plate as an example of the progress.

“My other injury is healed. It’s 100 percent healed, and I could tell because I was hitting balls in the air to the pull-side. That’s a big thing because it means my bat speed is fine,” he said. “That’s the part that’s frustrating. I was about to get on a huge run the rest of the way, like I always do, and this happens. But there is still a lot of games left, I’ll heal this thing up, get out there and it will make a huge difference.

“I’m a lizard. I heal while I play. I’m a freak healer. I heal great.”

The MRI of Pedroia’s thumb was being examined by hand specialists Dr. Donald Sheridan and Dr. Thomas Graham Friday for second opinions.

“It’€™s just a bad break. I don’€™t know,” he said. “I’€™m pretty frustrated by it. You work so hard in the offseason to prevent injury and you get a couple of freak accidents, same thumb. It stinks. I’€™ll be fine. I’€™ll produce in a major way this season to help our team, I promise you guys that.”

Carl Crawford (left elbow) spoke before Friday’s game with the Yankees and is expected to join Triple-A Pawtucket over the weekend. So far in eight minor league rehab games, Crawford is 7-for-24 (.292) with a double, a triple, four runs scored and seven walks, playing most recently for Double-A Portland.

Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) continued his rehab on Friday in Portland.

“There’s not [minor league] games during the All-Star break so they’ll play as often as the schedule allows them,” Valentine said. “Maybe we’ll do a little simulation here. I don’t know. I don’t know how many guys are sticking around.”

Scott Podsednik was activated from the disabled list on Friday and immediately optioned to Pawtucket, likely in advance of him getting called up to Boston for Saturday for the day-night doubleheader, when rosters, under the new collective bargaining agreement, are allowed to expand to 26 players for the day.

Clay Buchholz (esophogitis) threw a side session on Friday afternoon and Valentine indicated he could re-join the rotation “late” in the first rotation through or “early in the second” rotation.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Donald Sheridan, Dustin Pedroia
Carl Crawford, Ryan Sweeney move closer to the majors in Manchester 07.05.12 at 10:53 pm ET
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MANCHESTER, N.H. ‘€“ Carl Crawford made his next step towards getting back to the big leagues on Thursday night. He made his second appearance with Double-A Portland as part of his rehab from an elbow ailment that has kept him out all season long.

Crawford led off and started in left field for the Sea Dogs. He went 1-for-4 for the game, and registered his only hit on a triple that was pounded into the right-centerfield gap off of New Hampshire Fisher Cats pitcher Fernando Hernandez in the fifth inning. He sprinted around the bases with ease like the Crawford of old as he slid into third without any difficulty.

‘€œThat swing felt pretty good, I ran the bases pretty good,’€ Crawford said.

‘€œI hope to be able to drive the ball well,’€ he said. ‘€œ[I’€™m] just trying to not do too much. I got a good piece of wood on it and found the gap.’€

Crawford opened the game by grounding out to second, then led off the third by striking out a 90 mph outside fastball. With two outs down in the fifth, he found the gap on the triple, then scored on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. single before legging out a fielder’€™s choice in the seventh. He was then replaced by Peter Hissey on first, which marked the end of the night.

He said that his rehab stint has allowed him to see everything as he prepares to return to the majors, which is expected to be after the All-Star break.

‘€œI’€™ve been getting just about everything,’€ he said. ‘€œRunning the bases, seeing balls off the bat. ‘€¦ I’€™m getting the things that I need to get ready.’€

While he isn’€™t expected back until after the break, Crawford expressed a desire to be back with the big-league Red Sox this weekend as they prepare for a four-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park. Crawford, however, said he’€™s ‘€œprobably’€ not physically ready for that yet.

‘€œOf course I’€™d like to be up in the big leagues playing right now,’€ Crawford said. ‘€œI don’€™t know if that’€™s possible, but definitely in the back of my mind I wish I was up there playing.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

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Carl Crawford: ‘I felt like today was a good start of something’ 07.03.12 at 9:35 pm ET
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PORTLAND, Maine ‘€“ Other than a significant health scare, Tuesday night’€™s trip to Hadlock Field was a productive visit for Carl Crawford.

The Red Sox outfielder — who his rehabbing from a strained left elbow — went 1-for-2 with two walks, flying out to left field and garnering his single by beating out a slow roller to second base.

Crawford saw a total of 22 pitches while getting a much-welcomed opportunity to face a quality of competition a bit closer to the majors.

‘€œI felt I was able to get into a rhythm at the plate because it’€™s so different,’€ said Crawford, who also stole third and scored a run. ‘€œThe balls were so far out of the zone down in Florida that you really couldn’€™t get nothing going. I felt like today was a good start of something.

‘€œI drew two walks off a lefty, so I was cool with that. I didn’€™t put the bat on the ball as well as I would have liked to, but I was fine with the way I took pitches. I think I saw like [22] pitches today, so I was cool with that.’€

Crawford will join the Sea Dogs for their road series in Manchester, N.H., Wednesday, with the next step of his rehab being decided after two games against the Fisher Cats.

The only negative emanating from the Tuesday night, four at-bat performance came in his second at-bat when he fouled a ball of the top of his right knee. Crawford immediately went to the ground, where he would stay for a few minutes while the Sea Dogs medical staff tended to the situation.

Crawford ultimately got up, returned to the batter’s box and lofted a fly ball to left, showing no ill effects from the injury the rest of the way.

‘€œIt’€™s one of those things where you’€™ll know tomorrow how it feels,’€ he said. ‘€œRight now it’€™s not as bad as it looked. It’€™s not too bad right now.

“I just hoped I hadn’€™t broken it. I hit it so hard, at the time I was just hoping everything was OK.”

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Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Zach Stewart’s debut; steps forward for Daniel Bard, Carl Crawford; a triples machine in the Dominican 06.28.12 at 1:22 pm ET
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A quick look at Wednesday’s minor league action…



— Newly acquired Zach Stewart enjoyed a successful debut in the Red Sox organization after being traded by the White Sox in the deal that moved Kevin Youkilis to Chicago. Stewart logged 5 2/3 innings in which he permitted one run on six hits (all singles). He did not walk a batter and struck out four, retiring 12 in a row in one stretch. He did not allow a run until there were two outs in the sixth. According to the Providence Journal, he worked at 89-91 mph during the outing.

Daniel Bard did not allow a baserunner for the first time since he was sent to the minors. He pitched a three-up, three-down seventh inning, getting a strikeout and two groundballs, while throwing seven of 10 pitches for strikes.

Ryan Lavarnway continued his ridiculous June with a 3-for-4 night that included a double. He now ranks second in the International League with a .320 average, just behind league leader Steve Pearce (.321). Lavarnway is sixth in OBP (.405), 11th in slugging (.489) and 10th in OPS (.894). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: brandon jacobs, carl crawford, cleuuis rondon, Daniel Bard
Bobby Valentine on D&C: Unsure if moving parts affected clubhouse atmosphere 06.27.12 at 12:19 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine discussed the implications of Kevin Youkilis‘ departure on his appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“My job, I think it’s the same but probably with less moving parts,” Valentine said. “There’s one less moving part, or maybe even four less moving parts depending on how many people were affected by the challenge to get everyone as much playing time as possible so that they can stay sharp and help the team win.”

Valentine did not say if the change will affect clubhouse atmosphere because he wasn’t sure if it impacted the atmosphere in the first place. The move will affect Adrian Gonzalez, a first baseman who has spent playing time in the outfield because of Youkilis’ appearances in the lineup.

“Adrian Gonzalez is going ot have a super year for us when it’s all said and done because he’s a super player. Regardless of what glove he has on I think he’s going to wind up being a terrific player,” Valentine said. “That being said, I did say that he probably won’t play the outfield until the World Series so he taped up his outfield his glove and wrote on it, ‘To be opened at the World Series.’ He’s not planning on going back there anytime soon.”

There are still some looming moving parts the Red Sox will have to deal with when players return like Carl Crawford return from injuries. Valentine said he hasn’t decided if Crawford will resume his starting position in place of Daniel Nava in left field when he is finished rehabbing.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I have all  expectations for Carl when he plays, when he returns,” Valentine said. “That’s just a question of when he returns.”

Boston’s skipper said the Red Sox will most likely use a six-man rotation for the next week, as Josh Beckett is set to return from the DL on Saturday night.

“[We will] just keep everybody in the rotation, keep the guys who’ve been there from the start of the season [and give them] just a litle break before their last start before the all-star break,” Valentine said. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bobby Valentine, carl crawford, daniel nava, Josh Beckett
Pregame Red Sox notes: Andrew Bailey slowed, Carl Crawford feared, Jacoby Ellsbury inching closer 06.23.12 at 8:10 pm ET
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Beyond the evident mutual displeasure between Bobby Valentine (who said that he can “play the people that I want to be in the lineup; I think that’s one of the things I’m allowed to do”) and Kevin Youkilis (who disputed Valentine’s claim on Friday that he’d discussed Youkilis’ playing time situation before telling the media that he’d “ride the hot hand” and play Will Middlebrooks), and the news that Clay Buchholz has been scratched from his scheduled Sunday start due to illness, there were a few other items of note from Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.

Among them:

— On Thursday, Andrew Bailey said that he saw a light at the end of the tunnel in his rehab from April thumb surgery. The tunnel just got a bit longer.

Bailey threw a bullpen session on Friday that “didn’t go perfectly,” according to Valentine. “We’re gonna let him rest a little before he gets back on the mound.”

Bailey had been progressing a bit ahead of schedule in his recovery, leading to his work off of a mound. But, Valentine said, “his arm didn’t feel great” during Friday’s session, so the team will limit him to work on flat ground for a while.

Carl Crawford went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks while serving as the designated hitter for the GCL Red Sox in the first start of his rehab assignment. One of the walks was actually an intentional walk after he’d gotten to a 3-1 count. Valentine was a combination of amused and confounded by the tactic at the lowest rung of the minor league chain. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on M&M: Red Sox media problems are ‘little pebble on the road’ 06.22.12 at 1:44 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon to discuss the Sox’ recent issues with the media and his dislike for anonymous sources. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“I can’t stand the unnamed source, the unknown source,” Millar said. “Put your name to it. [If] there’s a problem, like I said, with Player X and Player Z, put your name to it. You don’t like the skip, Bobby Valentine? Put your name to it.”

Millar said the media is tougher in Boston than elsewhere and becomes an issue when players don’t know how to handle the media well.

“You don’t have to be a great sound bite, that doesn’t have to be your personality,” Millar said. “Then what happens [with] the media in a place like this [is] it snowballs on you. It will dog-pile on you when times are tough. And that’s when you have a good personality or a clubhouse chemistry situation that sticks up for you and that’s when that becomes a valuable key in your club when you talk about clubhouse chemistry.”

Added Millar: “In Boston you have 37 different writers around you. It takes one bad thing and then it turns into a story. That’s just part of the business, and then it’s how you deal with it.”

The analyst said non-baseball questions can tire players and contribute to tension between players and the media, but it shouldn’t be an issue for the Red Sox moving forward.

“If the Red Sox are big boys and they do respect each other, this is nothing,” Millar said. “This is just like a little pebble on the road.”

Media issues aren’t the only problems the Red Sox are having, as the team needs to decide where infielder Kevin Youkilis belongs with the organization. Despite Youkilis’ sub-par performance this season and multiple trade rumors, Millar said he’d take the Red Sox veteran over rookie sensation Will Middlebrooks.

“If [Youkilis] is healthy I do want him in pressure situations over Will Middlebrooks. That’s my opinion,” Millar said. “Now, Will’s doing a great job right now, don’t get me wrong. But I’m telling you, [a] healthy Youkilis gives me the [important] type of at-bats, ninth inning against the Yankees in September, period.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carl crawford, Kevin Millar, Kevin Youkilis, Will Middlebrooks
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