Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford seeks the medical assistant during spring training at JetBlue Park. (Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine wanted Carl Crawford to take things easy and come back from his wrist injury once he was ready. There was no need to rush things by a week or two with the Red Sox sporting Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney on the roster in addition to Darnell McDonald. Valentine expected Crawford to take a few extra weeks and not be ready for Opening Day, but Crawford's progress as of late changed people's minds in that regard.
Until it turned out that his wrist wasn't ready, and inflammation had set in that puts him back on the original timetable Valentine had expected Crawford to return during. Now, Crawford admits he pushed himself a bit too hard, to see how his wrist would react:
"I think it was me pushing myself more just to see," Crawford said, reflecting on re-aggravating the injury.
Once he returns to baseball activities, Crawford said he wouldn't compromise his health by overexerting himself, a routine that came about because of his hunger to play.
You can't blame him for wanting to come back and play baseball when everyone around him is doing the same, but you can be a little miffed that he pushed himself when it's clear the Red Sox want him to chill and come back when he's legitimately ready.
At least, according to the second part of that quote, it appears Crawford has learned his lesson. And this inflammation won't slow his progress down by more than a week, meaning no real harm here, either.
Note: Originally, this article listed Crawford as dealing with a wrist infection, not inflammation. That was incorrect, and the article has been updated to reflect this. -Marc
Crawford isn't the only Red Sox player dealing with some lingering soreness. Right-hander Carlos Silva is now out of the running for the fifth spot in the Boston rotation, thanks to shoulder inflammation. Silva's shoulder was a known question mark -- he's dealt with shoulder issues each of the last four seasons now -- so a setback isn't unexpected. But the timing is poor for him, as he was slated to start in Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays.
It might not be a bad thing for the Red Sox, though, as Silva has an early opt-out. If he's not around to prove himself in spring training, it's less likely he'll exercise his right to opt-out in mid-April. Silva might not be the best pitcher around, but if he can't make it in the rotation from the get-go, he can still serve as MLB-caliber pitching depth at Pawtucket. And depth like Silva could have kept the Red Sox from that whole September thing last year, as hard to believe as that might be.
You thought you were free from Roy Oswalt. But no, you can't be free from him until he actually signs somewhere besides a rec league in his home town. Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox could make a push for Oswalt when spring training is over, if they feel they aren't getting enough from Daniel Bard and the Rotationettes during the pre-season.
It's hard to tell if Cafardo is hypothesizing or sourcing here, but there it is. And now, let's pretend nothing was ever mentioned about he who I just really don't feel like naming anymore (but did anyway).
Will Middlebrooks has impressed Valentine in his early spring training performances. Not just for his physical abilities, but for what Valentine thinks is an important and not often mentioned tool of Middlebrooks': his mind.
"He'll see a pitcher that he's seen before and be able to pull down that menu of pitches he throws, understand the speed, the angles, the programs that a pitcher uses to try to get a hitter out, or at least what he experienced in the past. Some guys have little books. He might have a book but he carries it around in his brain.
Middlebrooks is not an incredibly patient hitter, but he has waited for pitches he knows he can hit in the minors. It's worked for him to this point, and should continue to work in the majors as long as he doesn't get overly swing happy. It's not his time yet, with Kevin Youkilis still entrenched at third base, but it's good to see him making this impression on the man who will likely be his manager in the near future.