BOSTON -- Left fielder Carl Crawford is still on schedule to begin a 20-day rehab assignment Saturday, serving as the designated hitter for the Red Sox Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers.
Manager Bobby Valentine said Crawford would probably alternate game days, serving as the DH for one and then playing in the field for the next.
This will essentially be like a spring training for Crawford, who did not have one this season after surgery in mid-January on his left wrist and a subsequent elbow injury.
His health will determine a lot of his progress, Valentine said. But then its also baseball. He has to feel good about playing baseball and thats what spring trainings usually for. And what do we do, we do three times at bat, 15 games and 45 total at-bats. And instead of having the off-days as in spring training, hell probably get it in less than a month, 20 days.
Crawfords comfort level in his at-bats will be an indicator of his progress.
He might get four balls the first time up. He might hit the first pitch twice in a row, Valentine said. Id like him to see some pitches and not overextend himself, if hes running around the bases down there in Florida. But he could do it a couple of times and thatd be enough.
Although Crawford is getting closer to playing in major league games, Valentine said hes reserving any excitement until that is a reality.
I want him to be healthy, Valentine said. If hes health, Ill be happy. Then Ill start getting excited after hes healthy and playing the game of baseball.
The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.
Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.
Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.
Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double.
The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.