Notes: Crawford's return gets mixed reaction

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Notes: Crawford's return gets mixed reaction

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com Red SoxInsider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Carl Crawford's return wasn't exactly triumphant. But at least it's over with.

Returning to Tropicana Field for the first time since leaving as a free agent last December, Crawford was hitless (0-for-3) against his former team.

After the Red Sox' 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay, Crawford seemed relieved it's all behind him.

"There was a few cheers, a few boos -- I guess it was mixed emotions out there,'' said Crawford.

Indeed, when he came to the plate in the first inning, a smattering of boos mixed with cheers. Some fans stood in appreciation. Others clapped politely. Some razzed him.

"I didn't look too much (at people giving him a standing ovation),'' he said. "I was trying to focus on the game. To the people that cheered, I appreciate it.''

The outfielder said he heard some jeers while in the outfield, but nothing much different from what he's heard in other spots, including Anaheim and New York.

Crawford had been asked about what sort of reception he was going to get for the last week. Now, he can just concentrate on playing.

"It's nice to get it out of the way,'' he said. "I got a chance to see everybody today. The fans who didn't like me got a chance to do what they wanted to do.

"Tomorrow, I'm just going to try to make feel as normal as possible. Today, I can't lie, it didn't feel like it was a normal game for me.''

Tim Wakefield pitched well enough to win. Problem was, he didn't pitch as well as James Shields.

Wakefield allowed just two runs -- one of them unearned -- over seven innings and absorbed his first loss since May 6.

"I had only had two balls that were hard hit,'' said Wakefield. "The double Johnny Damon hit in the third and the homer by Justin Ruggiano in the fifth. Obviously, the difference in the game was the homer.

"We got outpitched.''

The 119 pitches Wakefield threw were the most he's had in an outing since Sept 8, 2003 -- also, against the Rays.

The knuckler got a lot of mishits for Wakefield, who gave up just one hit -- the homer -- after the first three innings.

The only other run off him came in the sixth when two walks, a fielder's choice and a passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia resulted in the second run charged to him.

"The knuckleball got better as the game went on,'' he said. "I had a hard time throwing it for strikes. But for the most part, I felt very good out there tonight. It was just one of those games where . . . it happens.''

As expected, outfielder Darnell McDonald rejoined the the Red Sox here and was activated.

Drew Sutton was optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for McDonald's return.

"He played 11 games down there,'' said Francona. "Through no fault of his own, he hadn't played much with Boston. Cameron got a lot of those starts when the Red Sox sat J.D. Drew against lefties, so the second righty wasn't playing much. Mac got some at-bats at Pawtucket and that will probably end up being pretty good for him.''

Lefty reliever Franklin Morales pitched Monday night for Pawtucket as part of his rehab assignment, but was erratic with his control (two walks and a hit batsman) and will remain with the Pawsox for at least one -- and likely more -- appearances.

"He'll take two days off,'' said Francona, "and then try to get out to about 30 pitches. We'll let him get extented a little bit and use all of his pitches.

"I think he's rusty. I don't think he's quite letting it go yet. He had no pain or anything like that. But he's not quite letting it go like we'd like.''

Bobby Jenks (back spasms) threw from a distance of 90 feet Tuesday on flat ground with what Francona termed "decent intensity.''

Jenks has been cleared to do whatever he can physically tolerate.

"Hopefully,'' said Francona, "he'll continue to progress forward.''

Jed Lowrie was out of the lineup with Marco Scutaro at short. Lowrie continues to feel some discomfort in his left shoulder and was out of the lineup in the series finale in Toronto Sunday.

Coupled with Monday's off-day, this will give Lowrie three straight days off, "which I don't think can hurt him at all,'' said Francona.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Merloni: Red Sox have more pitching depth than people think

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Merloni: Red Sox have more pitching depth than people think

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Farrell: Loss of Ortiz can be made up for with pitching

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