|Carl Crawford: Monday ‘was the fastest time we could think of’ for my return||07.12.12 at 10:19 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET — After going 2-for-3 with a run scored and handling one fly ball cleanly, Carl Crawford admitted that he is feeling the pressure to return to the Red Sox lineup. Crawford confirmed after Thursday’s game with Triple-A Pawtucket that he is on schedule for a return to the big league club on Monday at Fenway if everything goes well in his next two games Friday and Saturday.
Crawford was asked why he is returning on Monday.
“Probably because I feel the pressure of everybody wanting me to be out there,” he answered. “I want to be out there, fans want me to be out there, management, everybody, kind of a mixture of all that.”
Crawford played just five innings on Thursday but is expected to play full games against Buffalo on Friday and Saturday at McCoy Stadium.
“So, I figure try to get as many at-bats in,” Crawford said. “[Monday] was the fastest time we could think of.”
Crawford is trying to test his left elbow, which he said Thursday gave him no problems in the field or at the plate when he swung the bat.
“If I feel like I can go out there and contribute and help the team, really help the team, then I’ll make a decision that I can be out there. That’s the day we picked, whether I’m ready or not. I’ll be out there, hopefully.”
|Carl Crawford finishes 2-for-3 with a run in Pawtucket||at 7:26 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Carl Crawford took to his spot in left field amid polite applause here at McCoy Stadium.
Crawford singled in his second at-bat but he still got booed for it since it was a pop fly down the left field line that he watched from the batter’s box. It fell fair and he managed just a single that put runners on first and third, instead of second and third. As Crawford reached first, fans began to boo Crawford for not running out of the batter’s box and winding up at second.
Making matters worse, Ryan Kalish followed with a single that would’ve produced two runs but only one scored and Crawford was stranded at second to end the inning.
Crawford did not get to field a chance in the opening inning.
But in his final plate appearance, Crawford lined a sharp single to center, advanced from first to third on double by Ryan Lavarnway and came home to score on a single by Lars Anderson. He finished 2-for-3 before coming out after five innings of play, handling one fly ball flawlessly for an out and making four throws from the outfield.
He led off against Buffalo righty Jeremy Hefner and showed bunt on the first pitch he saw. Crawford took it for a called strike. He waved weakly at an off-speed pitch down and in. He swung at the 0-2 pitch and grounded weakly to second base for the first out.
With runners at first and second, Matt Tuiasosopo singled sharply to Crawford in left. He fielded it cleanly and made an accurate one-hot throw to the third baseman on the infield grass. Crawford’s throw was good enough to keep the run from scoring and Pawtucket pitcher Doug Mathis induced a 6-4-3 doubleplay on the next batter to keep the game scoreless.
There wasn’t much behind the Crawford throw but it was accurate.
Crawford fielded two more balls in the third, throwing all on one bounce back to the infield. He caught the last out of the inning, a fly ball to the middle of the warning track.
|Tim Kurkjian on D&C: ‘I don’t think it’s a very harmonious situation’ in Red Sox clubhouse||at 1:50 pm ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian appeared on Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about Bobby Valentine, what’s wrong with the Red Sox’ star hitters and whether the Sox will be buyers or sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
As rumors of problems in the Red Sox clubhouse continue to swirl, Kurkjian said the problems are greater elsewhere.
“I don’t think it’s a very harmonious situation there, I’ll put it that way,” he said. “I really think this has been overstated. I think the problems that they have now are that their starting pitching, especially their top two guys, has been pretty bad, terrible, to use that word. And they’re all injured and everything else. I think if they start to play well at some point, I think they’re going to be a little bit more harmonious in the room.”
While Valentine has been under a lot of scrutiny for the mediocre first half and possible clubhouse issues, Kurkjian preached patience.
“Bobby is an acquired taste. … It takes a while to figure out what Bobby says and means, and everything else,” Kurkjian said. “He was an acquired taste for anyone who met him for the first time. I think eventually they’re going to get this. The question is are they going to get this for the rest of the year?”
Added Kurkjian: “He, other than Davey Johnson, is the most confident manager I’ve ever met, meaning he knows what he’s doing is the right thing and he simply cannot stand it when people say or do things incorrectly when they’re talking about baseball. And yet some things have been done incorrectly with the Red Sox and I thought we would get Bobby Valentine either angry or lecturing. … We haven’t seen him like that as often as I used to see him and I think it’s because he doesn’t want to come in and show the arrogant Bobby Valentine every single day because he doesn’t think that’s the way to go here. But to me that’s Bobby Valentine at his best, when he knows he knows more than anyone else.”
Carl Crawford has yet to play a game this season due to a serious elbow injury that he believes he may require him to get Tommy John surgery.
“This is not going to end well this year for Carl Crawford, from what I can see,” Kurkjian said. “I’m wondering already, and this is not my nature to wonder, if this is going to end at all well in Boston for him. This is one of the strangest stories I’ve seen in a while. … I wonder if this season you just look at it and shake your head and say, ‘This is not going to happen certainly this year for Carl Crawford in Boston.’ ”
|Jerry Remy on D&C: Don’t sleep on Jon Lester||07.11.12 at 9:53 am ET|
NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss Jon Lester‘s slump and other Red Sox questions heading into the season’s second half. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Red Sox, who are 9 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East, have been plagued by injuries and starting pitching questions, like those surrounding Lester. Remy said he expected Lester to be a standout and is surprised by the 28-year-old’s struggles this season.
“In certain games we’ve watched him pitch he’s pitched better than his record,” Remy said. “His consistency hasn’t been what he would want it to be, or [what] anyone else wants it to be. There’s a lot of games where his best pitch, his cut fastball, hasn’t been there for him. He’s had to rely on other pitches to get people out. He’s had a couple of games where I thought he pitched very well and he just got hit in those games. It’s a combination of a lot of things that haven’t gone right for him.”
Added Remy: “His cut fastball is not quite what it was maybe a couple of years ago and that’s a major pitch for him. That’s his out pitch. That’s where he gets his ground ball outs, that’s where he gets his strikeouts, and it just hasn’t been as consistent this year as it’s been in the past.”
Remy was unable to explain what has kept outfielder Carl Crawford from returning to the Red Sox following his injury.
“Crawofrd’s a mystery to me. I have no idea,” Remy said. “Every time they’re talking about him coming back, something else pops up. I’m not counting on him right now. [Jacoby] Ellsbury is a major factor coming back. This is a guy that was the runner-up for MVP last year and who they can certainly use. But they’ve got to pitch better. Besides those guys coming back, and [Dustin] Pedroia of course, that’s another one, they’ve got to pitch better. They know that. The starting pitching was not good in the first half. The bullpen really saved them and the fact is they’ve got to do a better job [with starting pitching]. They’re capable of doing it, and if they do it they can make a run for it. But it’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure.” Read the rest of this entry »
|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.”
|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|
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.
“Thought 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.
“Probably 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.
“Just 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.
“I 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.
“It 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.
“We’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. “Carl 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.
“I 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 »
|Red Sox pregame notes: Carl Crawford’s rehab assignment stopped due to ‘mild left groin strain’||07.07.12 at 1:12 pm ET|
Carl Crawford just can’t seem to catch a break. The left fielder suffered what the team described as a “mild 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.
“He hit a triple the night before and when he turned second he just felt a little twinge there,” said Bobby Valentine. “So 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 “still 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 “red flag.”
“I think we have to manage that situation as he plays,” Valentine said. “It’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 »
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