Aviles knows Crawford's pain


Aviles knows Crawford's pain

Tomorrow morning, while youre stuck in traffic, hitting the snooze bar, or (more likely) feverishly hitting the refresh on this blog, Carl Crawford will be on the operating table. There, Dr. James Andrews and his team of robot surgeons will slice into the outfielders arm and officially disprove the once-unanimous theory:

Theres no way Crawfords second year in Boston can be less productive than his first.

Then, once surgery is in the books, well turn our attention to year three of the Carl Crawford Era, and a few obvious questions:

1. When will he be back in the line-up?

2. When will he be 100 percent?

3. Will he ever be 100 percent?

4. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch someone flush 120M down the toilet?

Early speculation ball-parked Crawfords recovery time at somewhere between 7-9 months, but in the quest for clarity, Rob Bradford sat down with a position player who knows a thing or two about coming back from Tommy John surgery: The friendly Mike Aviles.

Around 7 months I was playing in spring training games, and that was kind of rare, said Aviles, who underwent Tommy John in July of 2009. I still wasnt able to play shortstop, but I was able to play second because my throws just didnt have the extra carry that I needed.

He continued: I felt fully healed once the season started, but you could still feel as the months went on that your arm continued to get stronger. I would say right around the year mark is when I felt completely, fully, fully back to normal."

Of course, everyone's different. Then, there's the fact that Aviles is a middle infielder and Crawford's an outfielder. (The most notable outfielder I found to have had the surgery is Matt Holiday, who went under in July of 2001 and was ready for the start of the next season. But then again, that was back when he was a 21-year-old minor leaguer.)

Speaking of age, we also have to consider that Aviles had the surgery shortly after his 28th birthday, where as Crawford just turned 31. There's also the grim reality that Crawford hasn't exactly proven himself to be a quick healer during his two years in Boston.

Either way, best case scenario, it seems like we'll be looking at least next August before we see Carl Crawford at his best and brightest. And to that, I'll say there's a very good chance that year three is just as unproductive as the first two.

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

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.

Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.

Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.

"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida.  "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.

"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."

Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.

He had options, the others didn't.

Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.

The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.

Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.

Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.”  But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.

Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.

Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”

Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.

Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.

Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.