Crawford looks good in Pawtucket

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Crawford looks good in Pawtucket

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PAWTUCKET, R.I. Left fielder Carl Crawford took another step Friday night as he makes his way back from a strained left hamstring that has kept him on the disabled list since June 18. Crawford, who injured his leg running out a first-inning single June 17 against the Brewers, played in his first rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket, against the Durham Bulls, the International League affiliate of his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Crawford batted third, and played five innings in left field. He went 1-for-2 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI.

Facing Bulls starter, left-hander Alex Torres, in the first inning, Crawford singled to short center field, scoring Che-Hsuan Lin.

Its all about the timing, said Crawford, who has never had a hamstring injury before. You got a lefty throwing pretty hard. So I tried to see a few pitches. Make that adjustment I need to make. So, its a little challenging but I was able to make a few adjustments.

The most important thing was just being able to get out of the box like I normally can and move quick without worrying about my hamstring. I had a few moments today where I was able to test it.

He had just one chance in the field, a fly ball by J.J. Furmaniak in the fourth inning. In the third inning, after drawing a walk against right-hander Lance Cormier, Crawford broke for second on a hit-and-run with Ryan Lavarnway at the plate.

That felt great, Crawford said. I had some time where I had a chance to test it. I had a chance to test it in the outfield and it felt good.

In the fifth, Crawford hit into a fielders choice, erasing Daniel Nava at second base. Crawford then scored on Lavarnways eighth home run, a blast to left field. Crawford was done after that, with Nava replacing him in the field, Ronald Bermudez taking his spot in the lineup.

Were just trying to get my legs back under me right now and we didnt see the need to play nine innings, Crawford said. So I was able to do a few things that I can do in the big leagues. Thats what I need to do.

In 67 games with the Sox, Crawford is hitting .243 with six home runs, 31 RBI, and eight stolen bases in 12 attempts. He is expected to play left field again for the PawSox on Saturday.

Im going to play Saturday no matter what unless something just really bad happens, he said. But as of now I dont think thatll happen.

Just see if I can do it two days in a row. Just want to do everything two days in a row, make sure theres no pain. And then after that happens Ill be ready to go.

After that he is expected to travel to Baltimore on Sunday and join the Red Sox for their three-game series against the Orioles on Monday.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, citing "six people who witnessed . . . the incident", provided details Sunday of the confrontation between current Red Sox pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, now a part-time member of the Sox broadcast team, on a recent team flight from Boston to Toronto.

As earlier reported, Price berated Eckersley over innocuous on-air comments by Eck regarding a rehab start by Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. From Shaughnessy:

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

When Price was asked about it the next day, he said only, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’

Price later said he was merely standing up for his teammates and "[whatever] crap I catch for that, I’m fine with it.’’

Shaughnessy, citing "three people close to Eckersley," reported that neither Price nor manager John Farrell has apologized to Eckersley.

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical. 

WATCH: Did Sox make right move? / BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: On Devers

Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.

PROS

Infusion of energy

In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.

Production

Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.

Trade leverage

Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.

Feet wet for the future

A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.

Prospects saved, or repurposed

It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.

CONS

Uncertainty

This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.

Public about-face

Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.

Defense

Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.

Development

It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.

Loss of leverage

If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.