Crawford swinging hot bat despite pain in wrist


Crawford swinging hot bat despite pain in wrist

CLEVELAND Carl Crawford has finally started looking the guy everybody thought was coming from Tampa Bay when Theo Epstein signed him to a megabucks contract.

Thats the good news.

The bad news is that Crawford contends that hes been playing through pain since he returned from the disabled list, and now his surgically repaired wrist is beginning to give him issues again. Crawford smacked three doubles, scored two runs and knocked in three runs in Bostons 14-1 demolishing of the Indians on Sunday afternoon, but he also exited the game in the top of the fifth inning due to the sore wrist.

Just over time using it when youre sliding or using it as the top hand in your swing when you try to hit the ball hard. Over time that makes it sore, said Crawford. If the game was close I definitely would have stayed in. I dont think its too much of a big deal.

Crawford said he had a cortisone shot five months ago in the left wrist, and perhaps the pain just meant he was due to have another injection. It clearly didnt affect his performance in the field just like a throwing elbow that needs Tommy John surgery hasnt negatively affected his quality of play.

After all its a guy thats hit .311 over his last 16 games with 13 extra base hits and 15 RBIs, and finally appears to be the top-of-the-order catalyst nestled between Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the batting order.

It is what it is. Ive been playing with pain the entire time that Ive been brought back, so its just one of those things where it was a little more sore today than it was on other days, said Crawford. The elbow is no secret. Today was the first day I had a wrist issue. It is what it is.

Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he hoped it was just a little thing, but warning bells and whistles do go off when its an area thats been surgically repaired.

His wrist was bothering him a little today and thats why he came out. Its a little thing . . . I hope. But I think hes just trying to be Carl Crawford, said Bobby Valentine. That was like a 2012 version of Carl Crawford.

Crawford sounded surprised that his manager was talking publicly about the issue.

He did? said Crawford. It was a little sore today. Maybe its a concern to him because he brought it up to you guys.

All of Crawfords aches and pains and the fact that he appears to still need major surgery on his elbow continue to push the question of when the Sox decide to officially call themselves out of the playoff race. At that point they could certainly pull the plug on Crawford and let him get a head start on next season, but the Sox dont appear to be there yet with two big divisional series against Baltimore and New York staring them in the face.

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.