ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Infielder Brent Lillibridge #23 of the Boston Red Sox fields a sacrifice bunt by outfielder Desmond Jennings #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Carl Crawford has missed the entire 2012 season thanks to recovery from wrist surgery, and then subsequent UCL issues that resulted in platelet-rich plasma injections in his elbow. He's back with the Red Sox as of Monday, though, and is in the lineup, hitting second, for the first game of a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox.
Crawford was on the 60-day disabled list, meaning someone needed to be taken off of the 40-man, not just the 25-man, big-league roster, for him to return to action. Brent Lillibridge, acquired less than a month ago in the Kevin Youkilis deal, has been designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on both of those rosters.
Lillibridge had hit all of .165/.212/.177 between 2012 stints with both Sox, failing to find much in the way of offense regardless of the color of his hosiery. This is not surprising, for two reasons: Zach Stewart was always clearly the real return in the Youk trade, and when acquired, we basically said don't be surprised if Lillibridge is gone soon:
Those types of players have their uses -- especially when they slug over .500, as Lillibridge did in 2011 -- but for the most part, this particular utility player has done very little at the plate. There's a very good chance he's just a throw-in to this deal who can be useful at the right place and time, someone who can sit on Boston's bench for the next few weeks until the Crawfordian and Ellsburian cavalry arrive, and then he will be designated and assigned to Pawtucket -- off of the 25- and 40-man rosters, but still in the organization as a depth piece.
It's not clear just yet if the very last bit there -- about Lillibridge remaining in the organization as a depth piece -- will come to pass as well. But given his season line, and the fact he'll need a 40-man spot wherever he goes -- he just might sneak through and end up in Pawtucket. If not, though, it's not as if Boston lacks for infield or outfield depth present, either.