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

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

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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.