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.