Crawford swinging hot bat despite pain in wrist

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Crawford swinging hot bat despite pain in wrist

CLEVELAND Carl Crawford has finally started looking the guy everybody thought was coming from Tampa Bay when Theo Epstein signed him to a megabucks contract.

Thats the good news.

The bad news is that Crawford contends that hes been playing through pain since he returned from the disabled list, and now his surgically repaired wrist is beginning to give him issues again. Crawford smacked three doubles, scored two runs and knocked in three runs in Bostons 14-1 demolishing of the Indians on Sunday afternoon, but he also exited the game in the top of the fifth inning due to the sore wrist.

Just over time using it when youre sliding or using it as the top hand in your swing when you try to hit the ball hard. Over time that makes it sore, said Crawford. If the game was close I definitely would have stayed in. I dont think its too much of a big deal.

Crawford said he had a cortisone shot five months ago in the left wrist, and perhaps the pain just meant he was due to have another injection. It clearly didnt affect his performance in the field just like a throwing elbow that needs Tommy John surgery hasnt negatively affected his quality of play.

After all its a guy thats hit .311 over his last 16 games with 13 extra base hits and 15 RBIs, and finally appears to be the top-of-the-order catalyst nestled between Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the batting order.

It is what it is. Ive been playing with pain the entire time that Ive been brought back, so its just one of those things where it was a little more sore today than it was on other days, said Crawford. The elbow is no secret. Today was the first day I had a wrist issue. It is what it is.

Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he hoped it was just a little thing, but warning bells and whistles do go off when its an area thats been surgically repaired.

His wrist was bothering him a little today and thats why he came out. Its a little thing . . . I hope. But I think hes just trying to be Carl Crawford, said Bobby Valentine. That was like a 2012 version of Carl Crawford.

Crawford sounded surprised that his manager was talking publicly about the issue.

He did? said Crawford. It was a little sore today. Maybe its a concern to him because he brought it up to you guys.

All of Crawfords aches and pains and the fact that he appears to still need major surgery on his elbow continue to push the question of when the Sox decide to officially call themselves out of the playoff race. At that point they could certainly pull the plug on Crawford and let him get a head start on next season, but the Sox dont appear to be there yet with two big divisional series against Baltimore and New York staring them in the face.

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.