Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe got a hold of Bobby Valentine today down at spring training. Much of this piece has to do with Valentine's "rigorous camp," but there is a note in there about Carl Crawford worth sharing:
"I wouldn't be surprised if Carl's a few weeks into the season before he's really ready. I wouldn't be surprised nor disappointed if that's what nature dictates as his healing process.
"When he's ready and he's healed, he is going to be a welcome addition to our team, whenever that is. The more I've looked at Carl on film and tried to evaluate the whole thing, he's really special and we really need him. If it's later, than that's when it will be."
Valentine isn't saying, for a fact, that Crawford is set to miss time. Just that if he does need more time for his wrist to heal, that's fine, as Valentine and the Red Sox want him to be right. But you get the sense Valentine is saying this for two reasons.
The first: Crawford is one of the players Valentine criticized while he had his television gig for ESPN, so hearing some positive things about how good and important he is to the team is a nice gesture. I could just be reading into that, of course, but it's not like praising him is going to hurt their relationship, either.
Second, Crawford appeared bothered by the pressure of his contract last year, and now he has to deal with a rebound year, so hearing Valentine ease Crawford back in when Crawford is ready has to be comforting. Not just to Crawford, of course, but the fans who expect him to be in the lineup as well.
The presence of Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, and Darnell McDonald means that the Red Sox can certainly get by for a few weeks without Crawford. Ross isn't great against right-handers, but he isn't terrible against them, either, and he's a more than capable defender in left. Sweeney and McDonald can hold down the platoon fort in right field until Crawford is back, as well, given their complementary splits.
As for Crawford's rehab, according to Abraham's Twitter account, Crawford is cleared medically to perform baseball activities, but the one thing he can't do is "hit." Go on, make your jokes in the comments.