Crawford gets off to a good start


Crawford gets off to a good start

BOSTON -- Before Mondays game, left fielder Carl Crawford said he expected to feel some butterflies when he took the field for his first game in almost 10 months. After the game -- his season debut after missing the first 89 games while on the disabled list -- Crawford was happy to report he felt more comfortable than he thought he would.

It felt good to be back on the field, he said. Its been a while so a real nice feeling for me.

Today it really wasnt that bad as when I talked to you the first time. It actually felt kind of comfortable for me. So I was glad to feel that way instead of feeling so nerved up.

Crawford, who started the season on the DL after surgery on his left wrist in mid-January and a subsequent sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk. The first run he scored came after his first-inning single. It was the first time, he said, hes opened a season with a base hit.

Yeah, Ive never started the season off with a base hit, he said. That did a lot for me. So I was happy to start the game off that way.

That definitely helps. It helps you relax a little bit more and not worry about it so much. And then it kind of reminds you that you can still do it. So that was good to get that knock out of the way.

Crawford started the Sox eighth-inning rally. With the score tied, 1-1, Crawford opened the inning with a walk off White Sox lefty reliever Leyson Septimo. After a walk to David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalezs three-run homer put the Sox ahead on their way to a 5-1 win.

It was real nice to play for the win like that, be able to help, and do something important, he said. At the end of the day we got the win. So I definitely feel good about that.

It feels good to be able to see pitches. Last year I think that was an area I struggled in. So to be able to notice pitches real quick now and seem to be a little bit better at it is definitely confidence building for me.

Crawford had just one chance in the field, making the final out of the sixth inning on Paul Konerkos fly ball. He has expressed some concern about his elbow and making throws from the outfield. The only active throw he had to make came in the first, backing up on Adrian Gonzalezs errant throw to Will Middlebrooks that resulted in an error to the first baseman and the White Sox only run.

All in all, it was just what manager Bobby Valentine was hoping to see from Crawford.

Well, that was it, he said. He gets a base hit, scores a run. He had a real patient, professional at bat in the eighth inning. Hasnt seen the left-hander, knows its a tie score. He's leading off. You know how much he wants to do something really special and the walk turned out to be really special.

Crawford is hoping he can begin to focus on getting into a rhythm, and just playing ball.

Yeah, thats what Im trying to do, focus on just playing ball and dont worry about everything else, he said. Just try my best to help the team win.

Well see. I definitely feel like Im in a good place. So well see.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake