Crawford, Ellsbury getting close to returns

693028.jpg

Crawford, Ellsbury getting close to returns

BOSTON -- Both Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice on Tuesday at Fenway Park, prior to the Red Sox game against the Miami Marlins.

The pair of outfielders are major missing pieces to the puzzle that currently is the AL East's last-place team.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine aid that both are "close" to game activities. But it seems as if Crawford -- who also took part in outfield work at Fenway on Tuesday -- is a little bit closer.

"He's close. I would think by next week, for sure, if not sooner," said Valentine about Crawford.

Crawford himself spoke after his pre game workout, and reiterated the same notion.

"Everything's feeling like it's coming along fine," said Crawford. "I feel better as each and every day goes by. I feel like it's getting better. Right now, it's just a day-to-day thing. At this point, things are looking good.

"At some point I'm going to get out of here and go down to Fort Myers, I'm guessing, and start playing games. Get on the fast track and try to get back up here so I can get back in the lineup."

Valentine has been encouraged with Ellsbury's workouts. But they're still trying to determine when he'll be ready.

"I saw him yesterday, and he hit real well," said Valentine. "He swung the bat about 20 times yesterday, and did both live work and tee work today. He feels good. That's very encouraging.

"He's close to game activities. I don't mean tomorrow, but he's close. He's made great, steady progress."

Both Crawford and Ellsbury getting "close" at the same time may just be the very thing that the Red Sox offense needs to go on a serious run.

"We know that it's still a long season," said Crawford. "There's still a lot of games to be played. So we've got a lot of key parts coming back. And when we get everybody together, we definitely feel like we can put together a run and make a run at this thing.

"I'm pretty sure we inspire one another," Crawford later added. "We do the best we can. Watching him work out definitely gets me going. And I'm pretty sure it does the same for him."

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

red_sox_mookie_betts_032817.jpg

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.