Waiting for Carl Crawford

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Waiting for Carl Crawford

It's only Tuesday and I'm already Bobby Valenitine'd out for the week.

Honestly, I don't know what it is, but if I hear one more person write or talk about his criticism of players, his alleged beef with Ben Cherington or the fact that he invented the wrap, there's a good chance I lose my mind and start drop kicking strangers like I'm Izzy Alcantara.

It's a long season, guys. Everyone take a breath! And let's talk about something else: Carl Crawford.

From the moment we found out that Crawford had offseason wrist surgery, the expectation was that he'd start the season late. How late? We didn't know, but didn't expect it would be very long. Maybe a few weeks?

And while that wasn't ideal, we figured that would was still leave him enough time turn around his Red Sox career, before he's swallowed into the abyss with John Lackey, Dice-K and that mannequin in a baseball uniform standing awkwardly in the corner. (Oh wait, that's JD Drew.)

Anyway, these days there's still reason to believe that Crawford can find salvation. The Sox still expect him to be ready before the end of April, and that's more than enough time to have a season. Look at David Ortiz. He's taken April off for the last four years, and has still put up great numbers.

But while it might be too early to really worry about CC's season, let me just say that his recovery process have been exhausting. Check out this chronology of how Crawford's spent his spring, and try not to break a sweat. (Info from Rotoworld)

220: Carl Crawford is cleared to swing a bat.

221: Crawford takes 15 swings off a tee.

227: Crawford takes soft-toss swings.

33: Crawford concedes he may have pushed himself too soon.

34: Crawford has his sore left wrist examined by Sox doctors.

35: Crawford is shut down for 5-7 days.

39: Crawford makes 35 throws from a distance of 60 feet.

319: Crawford takes 20 swings off a tee.

321: Crawford doesn't swing, but runs the bases.

327: Crawford will do bunting drills.

Whew!

Listen, I know that wrist injuries are delicate, and when you consider that Crawford thought taking 15 swings and some soft toss qualified as "pushing himself too soon," you can understand why the Red Sox have slow played his more recent work load.

So while I won't criticize the nature of his rehab (although when you read it all together, it's pretty funny), it goes without saying that we're still waiting for Carl Crawford to turn the corner on this injury.

That even though there's still hope that he can put this speed bump behind and have a respectable season, very little has happened to increase our optimism.

But hey, at least it took our minds off Bobby Valentine for almost 500 words.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Steelers game:

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 15-2, Steelers 13- 5

GAME TIME: 6:40 p.m. EST

TV: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson

NATIONAL RADIO NETWORKS: Westwood One

NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts and Ross Tucker

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Steelers lead, 15-14

LAST MEETING: Patriots 27, Steelers 16 on Oct. 23, 2016 at Heinz Field

* * * *
QUICK FACTS
-- Bill Belichick is coaching in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game. Tom Brady is playing in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game.

-- The Patriots are 8-4 in AFC Championship Games, including 5-1 in games played in Foxboro and 4-1 at Gillette Stadium.

-- The Patriots are 30-19 in postseason games, including 19-4 at home (3-1 at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 16-3 at Gillette).

-- The Patriots' 30 postseason victories are tied with the 49ers for fourth-most in NFL history, behind the Cowboys (34), Steelers (34) and Packers (32).

-- The Patriots' .612 winning percentage in postseason games is third-best in NFL history, behind the Ravens (15-8, .652) and Packers (34-21, .618).

* * * *
MILESTONES
-- If the Patriots win today they will qualify for their ninth Super Bowl, most in NFL history. They are currently tied with the Cowboys, Broncos and Steelers at eight.

-- If the Patriots win today, Robert Kraft will set an NFL record for most conference championships by an owner (8) in the Super Bowl era. He is currently tied with the Denver Broncos' Pat Bowler at seven.

-- If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick will move into a tie with Bill Walsh for third place on the NFL list of best postseason coaching winning percentage. Belichick (who would be 25-10 with a victory) and Walsh (10-4) would have .714 winning percentage. Belichick is currently in fifth place, two percentage points behind Joe Gibbs (17-7, .708). Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) is in first place and Tom Flores (8-3. .727) is second.

-- If the Patriots win today, Belichick will advance to his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, which would be most in NFL history. He is currently tied with Don Shula at six.

-- Tom Brady (8) needs one more playoff game with three or more touchdown passes to tie Joe Montana (9) for most three-plus TD playoff games since the 1970 NFL merger.

-- Stephen Gostkowski (142) needs 11 points to tie Gary Anderson for third place on the NFL's all-time list of kicking points in the postseason. Adam Vinatieri (234) is first and David Akers (175) is second.

-- Julian Edelman (76) needs nine receptions to tie Andre Reed (85) for sixth place on the NFL's all-time list of postseason receptions. Michael Irvin is fifth at 88, and Hines Ward and Wes Welker are tied for third at 88.

* * * *
TONIGHT'S OFFICIALS
-- REFEREE: Terry McAulay. UMPIRE: Rich Hall. HEAD LINESMAN: Wayne Mackie. LINE JUDGE: Mark Perlman. FIELD JUDGE: Scott Edwards. SIDE JUDGE: Boris Cheek. BACK JUDGE: Tony Steratore. ALTERNATES: John Parry, Mark Steinkerchner, Rich Martinez. REPLAY OFFICIAL: Mike Wimmer. SUPERVISOR: Gary Slaughter.

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Tom Brady's pregame Facebook and Instagram post Sunday shows him wearing a different No. 12 uniform, that of Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif.

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots quarterback, looking for his seventh Super Bowl trip Sunday night when he faces the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in his and his team's sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game, posted the old photo and message on both his Facebook and newly opened Instagram accounts.

My family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, Pats nation, my schools, our fans... I'm playing for you today. LET'S GO

Posted by Tom Brady on Sunday, January 22, 2017