Crawford, Ellsbury getting close to returns


Crawford, Ellsbury getting close to returns

BOSTON -- Both Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice on Tuesday at Fenway Park, prior to the Red Sox game against the Miami Marlins.

The pair of outfielders are major missing pieces to the puzzle that currently is the AL East's last-place team.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine aid that both are "close" to game activities. But it seems as if Crawford -- who also took part in outfield work at Fenway on Tuesday -- is a little bit closer.

"He's close. I would think by next week, for sure, if not sooner," said Valentine about Crawford.

Crawford himself spoke after his pre game workout, and reiterated the same notion.

"Everything's feeling like it's coming along fine," said Crawford. "I feel better as each and every day goes by. I feel like it's getting better. Right now, it's just a day-to-day thing. At this point, things are looking good.

"At some point I'm going to get out of here and go down to Fort Myers, I'm guessing, and start playing games. Get on the fast track and try to get back up here so I can get back in the lineup."

Valentine has been encouraged with Ellsbury's workouts. But they're still trying to determine when he'll be ready.

"I saw him yesterday, and he hit real well," said Valentine. "He swung the bat about 20 times yesterday, and did both live work and tee work today. He feels good. That's very encouraging.

"He's close to game activities. I don't mean tomorrow, but he's close. He's made great, steady progress."

Both Crawford and Ellsbury getting "close" at the same time may just be the very thing that the Red Sox offense needs to go on a serious run.

"We know that it's still a long season," said Crawford. "There's still a lot of games to be played. So we've got a lot of key parts coming back. And when we get everybody together, we definitely feel like we can put together a run and make a run at this thing.

"I'm pretty sure we inspire one another," Crawford later added. "We do the best we can. Watching him work out definitely gets me going. And I'm pretty sure it does the same for him."

NLCS: Cubs beat Dodgers 8-4, head home with 3-2 series lead


NLCS: Cubs beat Dodgers 8-4, head home with 3-2 series lead

LOS ANGELES - Jon Lester pitched seven sharp innings, Addison Russell hit a tiebreaking homer and the Chicago Cubs moved one win from their first World Series trip in 71 years by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday.

The Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series and will have two chances to wrap up that elusive pennant back home at Wrigley Field.

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NLCS: Cubs tie series with 10-2 romp over Dodgers


NLCS: Cubs tie series with 10-2 romp over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - After striking out in his first two at-bats, Anthony Rizzo was seeking a slump buster. He found one in teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

Using the borrowed lumber, Rizzo homered and ended a postseason skid with three RBIs. The rest of the Chicago Cubs' hitters broke out equally as big in routing the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the N.L. Championship Series at 2-all.

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