Red Sox, Crawford to meet Monday regarding Tommy John surgery

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Red Sox, Crawford to meet Monday regarding Tommy John surgery

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox will use an off-day in the schedule Monday to convene a meeting with Carl Crawford that will likely determine whether the outfielder will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Crawford has been saying for week that he will eventually have to undergo surgery to repair a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. The elbow injury forced him to miss the entire first half of the season.

On Saturday, the Boston Globe reported that Crawford would go to the team this week to seek permission to undergo the procedure. Crawford has not made himself available for comment since that report.

"We'll circle up tomorrow," said Cherington. "We'll talk to him again and look at all the available information again and try work with him to figure out the right path for us. He's played a lot and it's a real injury, so I'm sure he's feeling it.

"It's a question of symptoms and whether or not he can continue to play at a high level if we treat it conservatively. So far, that's been our focus, our effort and that's what he wanted to do."

As he said Saturday, Cherington said the Sox won't allow the team's spot in the playoff race or the standings to dictate what they do.

"I think we have to focus mostly on what Carl needs and what's right for him," Cherington said. "This is a real injury he's playing with so we've got to take it seriously. So that's got to take precedent. I think he's certainly been playing and playing through an injury because the team is trying to win games and try to stay in this thing.

"But when it comes to decision, we've got to focus on what's best for Carl."

The Sox are trying to balance the value of having him available for the final six weeks or getting the procedure done now so that he can return sooner next season. The expected recovery time for a position player is anywhere from seven to nine months.

"I don't know that there's a clear answer to that," said Cherington. "I think that's why we need to focus the decision on what's best for Carl, listen to him and look at all the available information and figure out if this is something that needs to be fixed surgically or whether he can continue to play on it the way he has been."

Since mid-season, Cherington has at times refuted Crawford's belief that surgery is inevitable, citing other position players with sprained UCLs who avoided the procedure and strengthened the ligament through other methods.

But Sunday, it sounded as though Cherington is resigned to that fact.

"We were always hopeful we could avoid surgery," he said. "Now we're further ahead (in the process). We are where we are today. I think we have enough information that we can get together with him (Monday) and try to make it a decision for the rest of the year."

Cherington added that he didn't "expect he'll need another (medical) opinion. I expect all the voices have been heard. We know what the issue is. It's just a matter of listening to him and getting (the medical) staff's input."

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.