Crawford's bat makes up for lost time

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Crawford's bat makes up for lost time

Two games do not a season make, but this much is clear: Carl Crawford, his season delayed by injuries for 3 12 months, is off to a good start.

After collecting a hit and walk and scoring two runs Monday night in his debut, Crawford picked up three hits, scored two bases and stole three bases in the Red Sox' 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night.

"Carl's playing with a real fire,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and that's a good thing to see.''

Indeed, with his three steals, Crawford accomplished something he didn't do all of last season. In 2012, he twice had two steals in a game, but never three.

Add in two infield hits -- one on a chopper to second, the other on a roller to third -- and Crawford is playing with an aggressiveness that he seldom displayed last year.

"It feels good,'' said Crawford. "It's best to get off to a hot start around here and so far I've been successful at it. It's definitely easier to relax once you do the things you're trying to.''

It helps that Crawford is again hitting at the top of the order, where, teamed with Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox boast some speed.

Ellsbury stole a base in the first and rode home on Crawford's single to right. Then, in the third, Ellsbury tagged up and moved to second when Crawford hit a fly ball to the warning track in center.

"It's part of our game,'' said Crawford of the aggressive style, "and it's something we can attack teams with. It's something we have to use, especially with Big Papi (David Ortiz) being out. When you're doing it all the time, it becomes fun and you enjoy doing it.

"Being aggressive is my style of play, so that's something I've been wanting to do.''

A year ago, Crawford found himself lodged in the sixth or seventh spot, which limited what he could do. Now, as the No. 2 hitter, he's free to play the game the way he did in Tampa.

"This is my game,'' said Crawford. "It's been my game my whole career. I really didn't get a chance to show that last year. I'm thankful for the opportunity this year to have a few games to be able to show what I can do out there. Hopefully, it's a spot where they'd like to see me stay.''

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.