Injury update: Crawford, Ellsbury, Bailey

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Injury update: Crawford, Ellsbury, Bailey

BOSTON Left fielder Carl Crawford began his 20-day rehab assignment Saturday, serving as the designated hitter for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in Fort Myers, Crawford went 0-for-3 with a run scored and two walks, one intentional.

Manager Bobby Valentine said Crawford is expected to have an off day Sunday and DH again on Monday. Crawford is expected to begin playing in the field sometime in the next week.

Valentine couldnt say how long Crawford would stay with the low-level minor league team.

When hes ready to move, hell move, Valentine said. We really cant put a timetable on that.

Its more controlled environment. And we want to make sure we control it as well as possible.

Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice and fielded groundballs in center field from coach Alex Ochoa before Saturdays game against the Braves.

While Ellsbury is progressing, there are still hurdles he needs to clear.

He needs to throw more. He needs to be confident that he can get back to bases, dive, things like that that are shoulder-related and swing more, Valentine said. I know its not his throwing shoulder but it is involved in throwing.

I think hes healthy.

So far, Ellsbury has only been fielding grounders in center field, and not fly balls.

Must be maybe groundballs in the beginning and you have to reach a little more possibly. Valentine said. Maybe he doesnt want to really be reaching up that much with that arm. Thats probably it with the glove on.

Andrew Bailey had a slight setback during his bullpen session yesterday in his recovery from April surgery on his right thumb.

It didnt go perfectly, Valentine said. Were going to let him rest a little before he gets on the mound.

I hate to put a timetable on it. Well see how he progresses.

His arm didnt feel great throwing as much as... we were accelerating his progress a little and we decided to slow it down.

He was a little ahead of schedule throwing off the mound. Went back to the flat. His thumbs fine. Its just how often he throws flat and the mound.

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.