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