BOSTON -- Left fielder Carl Crawford is still on schedule to begin a 20-day rehab assignment Saturday, serving as the designated hitter for the Red Sox Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers.
Manager Bobby Valentine said Crawford would probably alternate game days, serving as the DH for one and then playing in the field for the next.
This will essentially be like a spring training for Crawford, who did not have one this season after surgery in mid-January on his left wrist and a subsequent elbow injury.
His health will determine a lot of his progress, Valentine said. But then its also baseball. He has to feel good about playing baseball and thats what spring trainings usually for. And what do we do, we do three times at bat, 15 games and 45 total at-bats. And instead of having the off-days as in spring training, hell probably get it in less than a month, 20 days.
Crawfords comfort level in his at-bats will be an indicator of his progress.
He might get four balls the first time up. He might hit the first pitch twice in a row, Valentine said. Id like him to see some pitches and not overextend himself, if hes running around the bases down there in Florida. But he could do it a couple of times and thatd be enough.
Although Crawford is getting closer to playing in major league games, Valentine said hes reserving any excitement until that is a reality.
I want him to be healthy, Valentine said. If hes health, Ill be happy. Then Ill start getting excited after hes healthy and playing the game of baseball.
Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.
Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.
Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.
Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners.
Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014.
Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.