The season is under way and still there has been no sign of Carl Crawford being ready to step back into the lineup. The latest has him once again being checked out for soreness in his throwing elbow, this time by a doctor in Boston. You will recall the overpaid center fielder had wrist surgery back in January and was again setback in his rehab during spring training. He’s on the DL and it doesn’t look like he’s coming off anytime soon.
A team source stated that the elbow issue is minor, according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. But of course they will say that until it can be determined just how bad the injury is. The plan with Crawford is to hold him back from throwing for a couple days and see how he feels then. This according to manager Bobby Valentine.
It was also Valentine who stated Crawford would need around 50 at-bats before he could be activated, pushing his return into May. With the way of the Red Sox so far, Crawford will be needed asap, which may be hard to believe.
Given his struggles in 2011, his first year in Boston, Crawford has been written off by many as a free-agent bust. His mediocre year that was well below his career averages put a great deal of internal pressure and strain on Crawford and we further learnt that he was never really comfortable last season.
Now with an outfield that is running on half of it’s cylinders, a healthy Crawford would inject some fuel that would only benefit the Red Sox. His speed on the basepaths can change a game in a single inning. His speed in the outfield and ability to track down fly balls that seemed destined to drop can provide valuable outs. For example, during the season opener in Detroit when Cody Ross couldn’t get to the long double hit late in the game, one has to wonder, could Crawford have gotten to it?
Even with his sub-par batting average last season, he is still more valuable than Ryan Sweeney. Granted Sweeney has had a nice start to the season but the jury is still out on whether or not he can maintain this type of pace. I’m thinking not.
Cody Ross tore the cover off the ball in March but is hitting a mere .211 through six games. Jacoby Ellsbury is struggling to say the least, but it is early. Darnell McDonald appears to have gone back to his Darnell McDonald ways which is limp into games and collect the odd hit while not doing much to plead his case as to why he should be an everyday outfielder.
So there’s the outfield situation as it stands right now. Carl Crawford is needed and it could be sooner than later if things continue down this unproductive path. Let’s just hope that this little issue is exactly that and we see CC in a Red Sox uniform in the very near future.