Time for Crawford to go under

836329.jpg

Time for Crawford to go under

Hey now. Hope everyone had a great weekend, or at the very least, a better weekend than the Red Sox. Then again, even poor Tony Scott had a better weekend than Bobby V's boys; the bar isn't set very high.

But on the brightside, with 38 games left and the Sox 7.5 games back in the Wild Card, David Ortiz is finally seeing the light! And not to be outdone, John Lackey's progressing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery! The front office is currently deciding whether to have Lackey make a couple starts in September or just individually kick every Red Sox fan in the groin. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Tommy John, the big story today will no doubt be Carl Crawford, who's set to meet with the Sox this afternoon and decide once and for all whether to have surgery on his ailing elbow. According to the reports, Crawford probably will elect to have surgery (most likely tomorrow), and in the process close the curtain on his 2012 season.

The final tally: 31 games, .282 AVG, .785 OPS, three homers, 19 RBI, 22 Ks, three walks and five stolen bases. Or if you want to break it down another way, that's roughly 161K per game, 1.7M per home run and 2M per stolen base.

Not a bad deal, Carl.

But despite his latest wildly disappointing season, I don't think anyone has an issue with Crawford going under the knife. In fact, most of us wonder why it took so long. I mean, you can understand why Crawford wanted to delay things a little bit; you admire the fact that he genuinely feels bad about how his time with the Sox has gone and wants to do everything he can to make up for it. But it's obvious that we've reached the point where the best way for Crawford to make up for these last two seasons is to do everything he can to be ready for next season. To get this elbow taken care of and once again try to start fresh.

According to Sean McAdam, Tommy John recovery times for position players range from 7-9 months, which would put Crawford on track to be ready right around April. Actually, it puts Crawford on track to be ready by next August, but hopefully this time around he'll recover at a more reasonable rate. Either way, I don't think you'll hear anyone make a stink about Crawford shutting it down.

I don't think there'd be a problem if anyone wanted to shut it down. Papi? Beckett? Ellsbury? A-Gon? I don't care who it is. If you don't feel like playing, take a seat, and let's unleash the farm on Fenway for the rest of the year. Bring up Jackie Bradley, Jose Iglesias and Matt Barnes. I know Xander Boegarts is all of seven years old but bring him up, too.

I know the owners might be worried about people losing interest, but I guarantee fans would be more interested than they are right now. And who cares? After all, no matter how many people show up to Fenway, you know it still counts as a sell out.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

 

BOSTON — They have the right idea, if not yet the right personnel.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has brought on a pair of former Tigers in an effort to help the Red Sox’ depth.

It’s hard to expect much from righty Doug Fister — who mostly throws in the 80s these days and is to start Sunday — or from Jhonny Peralta, who’s going to play some third base at Triple-A Pawtucket. Fister was claimed off waivers from the Angels, who coincidentally started a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. Peralta, meanwhile, was signed as a free agent to a minor league deal.

Neither may prove much help. Fister could move to the bullpen when Eduardo Rodriguez is ready to return, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. The Sox hope E-Rod is back in time for the All-Star break.

That’s assuming Fister is pitching well enough that the Sox want to keep him.

But at least the Sox are being proactive looking for help, and it’s not like either Peralta or Fister is high-risk.

Fister, 33, threw 180 1/3 innings last year with the Astros, posting a 4.64 ERA. He hasn’t been in the big leagues yet this season.

Said one American League talent evaluator earlier this year about Fister’s 2016: “Had a nice first half. Then struggled vs. left-handed hitters and with finishing hitters. No real putaway pitch. Has ability to pitch around the zone, reliable dude.”

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

BOSTON — Tyler Thornburg’s gone for the season and there’s really no telling when the other set-up man the Sox expected to help in 2017, Carson Smith, will be back.

The Sox have already made inroads, if minor ones, in bolstering their third-base situation and rotation. Smith’s situation leaves a question of whether the Sox will need to pursue help in the bullpen as well.

There's not an easy answer to settle on at this point.

For one, the timetable with the right-hander Smith — whose shoulder has bothered him on the way back from Tommy John surgery — isn’t clear.

“He's in a no-throw [time] through the weekend,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. “He'll be reevaluated on Monday to hopefully initiate a throwing program. He's responding favorably to the treatment. He continues to rehab as he's been. We have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year.”

What does this year mean, though? Will they be able to know by July, by the trade deadline?

“Still too early to tell,” Farrell said. “We thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP session in New York [on June 6]. Unfortunately, that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I don't know that any of us can predict that right now.”

The Sox relievers have done extraordinarily well without either Thornburg or Smith. Can that continue without reinforcements? The bullpen’s ERA entering Friday was 2.94, the second best mark in the majors. Its innings total, 217, was the second. lowest in the majors. 

So it’s not like the entire group is about to collapse from fatigue. But a guy like Joe Kelly, for example, isn’t someone the Sox want to use back to back.

It’s a young group and ultimately an inexperienced group. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already fallen into the trap of trading for premium set-up men twice, and that’s a dangerous road to pursue again. Perhaps a smaller trade makes more sense.

“Well, at this point, we’re open minded to help,” Dombrowski said when asked if he was targeting either third-base or relief help. “I’m not going to get into specifics at this time on what else we’re looking for. Keep an open mind on a lot of ways on which we can improve. We have guys coming back and both the spots, I think Carson Smith is very important to us and our bullpen has pitched great. The other day, we struggled but that was one of the few times we really struggled all year. 

“I think Carson still has a chance to come back and help us this year.”