FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine is preparing himself to be without Carl Crawford in his Opening Day lineup April 5 in Detroit . . . and slightly beyond.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Carl's a few weeks into the season before he's really ready to go,'' said Valentine Tuesday. "I wouldn't be surprised, nor disappointed if that's what nature dictates as the healing process.''
Crawford, who underwent surgery on his left wrist last month, isn't due into camp until next week, when position players are set to report.
The Red Sox said they hoped Crawford would be ready for the season opener, but were unsure whether he'd be fully recovered and cleared.
"When he's ready and he's healed, he's going to be a welcome addition to our team,'' said Valentine. "Whenever that is. The more I've looked at Carl on film and tried to evaluate the whole thing, he's really special. We really need him. But if it's later, then that's when it will be.''
When Crawford does arrive in camp, he'll be dealing with some limiations.
"What I've heard from the training staff,'' said Valentine, "is that he can do everything except hit at the beginning of spring. Until they start getting their hands on him in the training room, until I can talk to Carl and see what he feels and believes, (we can't be sure).''