BALTIMORE, MD - Catcher Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on as Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox flies out for the third out of the fourth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
There was brief mention earlier in the week that Carl Crawford was dealing with an elbow problem, but it's already been identified and wrapped up. An MRI showed that Crawford was dealing with an elbow strain the last few weeks, and it got to the point where it needed to be checked out. Now that everyone knows what it is, and Crawford's rehab was pushed off schedule by a week, he's set to go to Fort Myers for Saturday, where he will finally start to work his way back by picking up a bat.
"We're not putting a timetable on it yet," said Valentine. "He's going to be able to DH ASAP and in those games down here. I even think he could run around in the outfield and hand it off if we're worried about him throwing. The guys who are in charge of the rehab have to take control of that situation."
It would be good if we got some sense of a timetable soon, because if Jacoby Ellsbury ends up being out with a shoulder injury for any serious length of time, the Red Sox outfield is going to be Darnell McDonald, Cody Ross, and Ryan Sweeney. All three of those players have their uses, but having all three as starters is not a plan for earning a playoff spot.
Are you wondering how this current iteration of the Red Sox, who had their home opener today at Fenway, were constructed? Alex Speier wrote a detailed piece looking at how the 2012 Red Sox were built, as well as why they were built. The core idea of the team involved, well, the core: Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, etc.
"We had three guys in the top 10 of MVP voting last year. I don't think there are many teams that had three guys in the top 10 of MVP voting that don't make the playoffs," said Sox GM Ben Cherington. "So from a roster construction standpoint, we did feel we needed to add some things to make the roster function better, but we didn't feel we needed to add a superstar."
The core was strong enough that having the right role players in place would do wonders. There's more to it than that, as you'll see in the piece itself.
If he's healthy this year, the Mets think third baseman David Wright is still talented enough that he'll be worth a long-term contract. Why does this matter on a Red Sox website? There have been whispers for years that Boston is interested in Wright, one of the game's better third basemen in the past. Should he be healthy this year -- post-pinkie issues, anyway -- then the Mets won't give him the opportunity to go elsewhere. It would also keep him from being available at the trade deadline, in the last season in which he could be dealt and then recoup picks for his new team.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, a player has to be on a team for the entire season in order to earn them draft picks when he walks. (In addition to the need for a qualifying contract offer.) Wright, like Kevin Youkilis, has an option for 2013, meaning that if someone were to deal for him before the trade deadline this year, they would be able to keep him around next season as well, becoming eligible for compensation picks in the process.
This is a non-issue if Youkilis rebounds, or Will Middlebrooks develops to the point where they think he can handle being the starter in 2013. But if Wright signs, it's one less option for him in case those things don't happen.
Ladies and gentleman, may I present to you Kelly Shoppach's first-ever stolen base, and the slide that comes with it?