Crawford and Red Sox a very happy marriage

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Crawford and Red Sox a very happy marriage

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

Having spent his entire career in the American League East, Carl Crawford wasn't anxious to leave.

"That was very important to me," he said Saturday. "The American League East is so exciting, the fans are so passionate, there's so much history . . .

"So when I heard Boston was interested, I was definitely excited about it."

Not as excited as the Red Sox were.

"We're really thrilled," said general manager Theo Epstein. "Carl's a dynamic player who impacts the game in every way . . . He's a game-changer for us."

The marriage, then, seemed inevitable, and it became formal Saturday when the Red Sox offically announced the signing and introduced Crawford in a crowded press room at Fenway Park.

A reporter joked that there were probably more people in the room than there were during a typical weeknight game at Tropicana Field, where the Rays -- Crawford's team for the first nine years of his career -- play their home games. But that, said Crawford, was one of the things that most attracted him to Boston.

"I'm definitely ready for that," he said when asked if he was prepared for the 247365 spotlight on the Red Sox. "There's a lot of excitement, a lot of screaming and hollering . . . It's something that gets you up and keeps you going."

And now, as an added bonus, they'll be screaming and hollering for him.

"Instead of me getting booed," he joked, "they can boo somebody else now."

Crawford said he didn't care where he batted in the lineup -- "That's up to Tito (manager Terry Francona)" -- but doesn't really think the Sox can go wrong wherever he winds up.

"I envision it being a very exciting lineup," he said. "You have speed, you have power, you just about have everything you need."

But it was more than the lineup that has him excited about being a Red Sox.

"It's a great group of guys I'm going to," said Crawford, who works out with Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in Arizona and knows many of the Sox. "I don't think I could be coming to a better situation."

Or a manager who's happier to have him.

"Now that the negotiations are over," said Epstein, "we can say Francona is one of Carl's biggest fans."

Check back later for much more on Crawford's signing from Sean McAdam and Maureen Mullen.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

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.