Thursday Red Sox Notes: Carl Crawford, Chris Carpenter, More Theo Epstein Compensation

Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford seeks the medical assistant during spring training at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Carl Crawford isn't going to be ready for Opening Day. That's not a surprise at this point, given we're days away from the start of the season and he has yet to start swinging a bat again. But for the first time, we're starting to get a sense of just how much longer we'll have to wait to see him patrol left field at Fenway, even if it isn't an exact timetable.

Manager Bobby Valentine says that Crawford will need about 50 at-bats before he's ready to come back to the majors and join the Red Sox. That's a significant chunk of April -- 15 games is the estimate -- meaning Crawford wouldn't be back until the last third of the month. If Crawford spent most of that time with the Pawtucket Red Sox, 15 games wouldn't come about until April 19. That's actually faster than the Red Sox will get through 15 games (April 22), so he might not miss the same amount of time in the majors in order to get those 50 at-bats. His minor-league assignment might not end up scheduled that way, of course, but this gives you a sense of when it is he'll likely be back. He hasn't started to swing, though, so then again, the 15 games might not start the same time the season does.

That means nearly a month of Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, and Darnell McDonald hopping around left and right field. Both Ross and Sweeney are fine defensive players, while McDonald has his moments against left-handers. The Sox can certainly go a month without Crawford, even if it means they missed out on a month of the pre-2011 version. With Ryan Kalish out for a while yet, though, they can't suffer any further injuries to the outfield until Crawford comes back. The depth only extends so far.

General manager Ben Cherington has the organization's take on how they went about figuring out Carl Crawford's wrist and its implications before signing him over at WEEI.com today as well, if you're curious about how they make decisions regarding risk.

Chris Carpenter will need to undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow. Nick Cafardo says that this isn't anyone's fault -- both the Red Sox and Cubs had access to his medical records, and injuries like this happen -- and that means that there won't be any new compensation coming in to replace Carpenter.

This surgery might not be a big deal for either the Red Sox or Carpenter's career, though. Bone spurs can be problematic even after surgery, but it's all about location. If it's off the back of the elbow, then Carpenter will have his surgery, heal as normal, and in theory be back with no future problems. If it's off of the inside part of the elbow -- near the ulnar collateral ligament that no one wants to ever hear about in reference to pitchers or elbows -- then things could be more problematic going forward. There's no word yet about the where of the bone spurs, but once we do know, that location will be telling.

*****

Assuming that the Chris Carpenter saga won't be just that, then the Red Sox made the move today that finally finishes off the Theo Epstein compensation. They sent Jair Bogaerts -- twin brother of top prospect Xander -- to the Cubs as the player to be named later that was announced back when Carpenter first came to Boston.

Jair Bogaerts spent the last two years in the Dominican Summer League as a first baseman. He hit .288/.387/.404 last season as an 18-year-old, and in his brief scouting report from SoxProspects.com, we see that he has "raw power potential." It's kind of a shame that his solid-looking stint as an 18-year-old is overshadowed by brother Xander's excellent Single-A debut at the same age, but it also seems like something Jair is used to at this point.

*****

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a successful first full-year with the Red Sox in 2011, and he's looking to build on that success this year. Alex Speier has a write-up on Salty's preparation -- he's apparently the hardest-working of the Red Sox, the one who shows up the earliest and dedicates himself to the craft of catching -- and it includes something I wasn't aware of. Saltalamacchia has an MLB-approved exemption that allows him to use Adderall to treat his attention deficit disorder:

"I always had ADD, that's another reason why I woke up early. I was never able to sit still," said Saltalamacchia. "I never really noticed it until my parents had me tested in, like, third grade. My grades shot up. I got, like, straight A's. But I was on Ritalin, and in baseball I was so laid back and relaxed that I didn't play well. My parents made the executive decision to take me off of it."

He was off of medications to treat it entirely for a time, but starting in 2008, he took Adderall with the approval of Major League Baseball. Salty says it's, "been a world of difference" for him since he began to take it, as it allows him to do his routine, prepare for his games, and focus during the games themselves.

Some people think of medication like Adderall as a performance-enhancer, but for Saltalamacchia, who suffers from ADD, it simply "levels the playing field." We sometimes forget that players have their own problems, health or otherwise, since they seem like something superhuman to us on the playing field. Saltalamacchia is a good reminder of the reality of that situation.

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