FORT MYERS, Fla. Carl Crawford arrived at Red Sox camp Monday. And despite the left wrist on which he had surgery in January, manager Bobby Valentine liked what he saw of Crawford.
I didnt know he was there, Valentine said. I just walked around the corner, there he was, throwing the ball. It was great to see him. His health looks much better than I expected. Im pleasantly surprised.
Crawford was the target last season of some of Valentines pointed criticism as an analyst for ESPN. The manager, though, is not concerned about any lingering discomfort.
I think its cleared up, Valentine said. And if its not, I dont think its a big deal anyway. I think hes ready to play baseball. He had the great look in his eye. Hes a great athlete. Looks like hes going to have good health.
Crawford, for his part, also said it was no longer an issue.
"That's his job to do stuff like that on TV,'' said Crawford. "I kind of understand how that goes. I'm playing for him as a manager and I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel like that way. It's just stuff you have to say when you're on TV, so me and Bobby have no hard feelings.
"We both share a common goal and that's to help the Red Sox win.''
One of Valentines criticisms focused on Crawfords exaggerated open batting stance, which he worked on in the offseason.
His agent told me that he had worked on some things and wed like it, Valentine said. Hes not swinging yet. As long as he has a good image of himself, thats all that matters.
How soon Crawford will be able to get back in games remains to be seen. He said Monday heis hopeful he will be ready for Opening Day.But, after seeing him in the outfield, Valentine checked with the trainers to be sure Crawford was cleared for such activity.
I went in, talked to them after I saw Carl throwing. To make sure he had clearance to throw, which he did, Valentine said. And their latest was hes about some time away from swinging. So upon evaluation after they see him firsthand Im sure Tuesday morning theyll tell me what that some time is.