Valentine: Crawford won't play Opening Day

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Valentine: Crawford won't play Opening Day

FORT MYERS, Fla. Manager Bobby Valentine said left fielder Carl Crawford is progressing after a setback last week on his left wrist, on which he had arthroscopic surgery in mid-January. But, despite the improvements, Valentine said he is not planning on having Crawford in his Opening Day lineup.

Crawford threw at 60 feet for I think 35 throws and he was pain free, Valentine said before Friday nights game against the Pirates. Everyone liked what they saw. And better yet everyone felt as good afterward as before the throwing session. The coaching staff and medical staff have met on Carl to try to map out not necessarily a schedule but at least a workload concept where we could all -- the training room and the hitting coach and the outfield coach, manager, et al -- could be kind of on the same page as far as what needs to be done and how were going to do it.

Crawfords next milestone will be swinging a bat in the batting cage off a tee.

Valentine has stressed the importance of letting the recovery take its own process and not focus on Opening Day or any other date on the calendar.

I never try to have the calendar dictate the health of a player and I think Carl understands that, Valentine said. This is like a tree, if you will, in your garden. In time the fruit will be there but we cant rush the process. You cant allow what happened last time the setback to happen again by trying to let the calendar dictate the healing process. It takes time. When we allow him that time I think hes going to be healed physically so that he could play without pain, without cause of concern. And I dont know when that is.

To tell you the truth, Im not planning on him for Opening Day. I think I said that, too, coming in, and then I might have changed my mind when he started hitting and throwing early. But I have to go back to the original.

How Crawfords absence will affect the outfield depth remains to be determined.

If everyones able to perform like Im hoping they perform -- and again, I havent seen a whole heck of a lot of it. I guess were up to 16 at-bats I guess per outfielder, and theyre all rusty at-bats, but well see, Valentine said. You build on those 16, get up to 35 and youll start seeing what you really have.

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.