Crawford ahead of schedule, eyes opening day


Crawford ahead of schedule, eyes opening day

FORT MYERS, Fla. Left fielder Carl Crawford is still optimistic if cautiously, so about being in the Red Sox lineup on Opening Day.

Thats the goal of mine to try to be in the lineup for Opening Day, he said after Saturdays workout. Im not sure if thats going to happen or not but thats definitely my goal and definitely what Im working hard to get to.

Crawford is rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist in January.

The wrist is coming along fine, he said. Im about to take a few swings right now and see how that feels. But it definitely feels strong. I just have a little soreness in it at times. But its coming along well.

Swinging a bat was to be the last of the baseball activities he could resume. But he has progressed to taking swings in the batting cage this week.

I started doing that a couple days ago, he said. So thisll be like my third or fourth day swinging. Been getting better every day.

Crawford, who said he is pretty aggressive with his swings, has been taking about 20 to 30 swings each session. The next milestone would be for him to swing on a field.

That could be sooner than I thought originally, said manager Bobby Valentine. And hopefully not so soon that it sets him back any. So were trying to make the time right. Of course weve talked about some absolute time frames. Were not trying to set that out as a public statement right now.

But hes doing well. Hes up to 35 swings at 80 percent. I dont know how you actually do 80 percent, first of all. I never quite got that. I know in quantity what 80 percent is but 80 percent effort Im not real good at. What Im told is hes doing 80 percent, 35 swings.

How realistic is Opening Day for Crawford?

I think it could be realistic, Valentine said. Again, I dont know. I wouldnt doubt it. Talking to Carl I wouldnt doubt many things. He seems very determined.

Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida


Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

Tiger Woods, recovering from his fourth back surgery in the last three years, was arrested on DUI charges Monday morning in Jupiter, Fla.

Woods, 41, is the winner of 79 PGA tournaments in his career (including 14 majors). He was stopped this morning at around 3 a.m. and booked at 7:18 a.m. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

Physical problems have plagued Woods in recent years, but he said last week "unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again." However, he will need months to recover from his most recent surgery.

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Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.