Rehab updates: Crawford, Hill and Miller


Rehab updates: Crawford, Hill and Miller

DETROIT -- Three players who began the season on the disabled list are each making progress toward returning to the lineup.

Outfielder Carl Crawford is set to begin getting some at-bats in extended spring training games "very soon,'' according to manager Bobby Valentine.

'I heard he's progressing really nicely,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "There was a conversation about whether he would want to come up for the (home opener) and he's rather get the DH appearances that are scheduled. He's feeling good.''

If Crawford experiences no setbacks in the extended spring games in Fort Myers, he could begin his rehab assignment with a minor league affiliate.

The plan calls for Crawford to get some at-bats as a DH, then have him graduate to some time in the outfield and running the bases.

"We're trying to get a comprehensive, but not rushed program for him,'' said Valentine.

The expectation is that Crawford will need approximately 50 at-bats between extended spring games and rehab games before being activated.

Rich Hill (Tommy John surgery) and Andrew Miller (hamstring) are both scheduled to pitch for Single A Greenville Saturday.

Hill is scheduled to start and pitch the first inning, with Miller coming in for the second inning.

Miller, who started some games in spring training, will be used exclusively out of the bullpen for the time being.

"We don't have the time to stretch him out now,'' said Valentine.

Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan


Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player. 

Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore. 

They may not have been on the best of terms.

"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."

But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.

"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.

"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.

"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.