Crawford: 2-for-4 in extended Spring Training game

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Crawford: 2-for-4 in extended Spring Training game

BOSTON Left fielder Carl Crawford served as the designated hitter in an extended spring training game earlier today, going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three walks. Crawford is on the 15-day disabled list after left wrist surgery in January and elbow soreness earlier this month.

Hes going to be examined in Boston sometime in the couple, three days, manager Bobby Valentine said. And if the exam goes well, then theyre going to either put him in the outfield, which Im hoping he can just go in the outfield and underhand it in for a while and just start playing that way and then get on a throwing program. Im hoping thats the next step.

But, with the Red Sox outfield situation getting bleaker by the day Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury on the DL, and recent call-up Jason Repko suffering a slight shoulder separation after crashing into the wall yesterday the Sox are unlikely to rush Crawfords rehab.

Crawford has yet to begin a rehab assignment. The Sox would have 20 days from the start of an assignment to activate him.

I guess he could start playing somewhere else, DH, Valentine said. Its been talked about but were not sure of the necessity of having him move around, different weather. Right now he needs to see pitches, get at-bats, get on base, steal those bases, start getting comfortable in playing the game. Im not sure that were worried about the competition level. Were worried about his comfort and then his physical.

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

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Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.