Carl Crawford, who had hoped for a fresh start to his second season as a member of the Red Sox, has been dealt a setback.
Crawford, who had a highly disappointing first season after signing a 142 million free agent deal, will likely miss the start of the 2012 season after undergoing surgery on his left wrist Tuesday.
Ben Cherington, the Red Sox general manager, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a conference call with reporters.
"We're not ruling out Opening Day,'' said Cherington, "but we're not going to put a timeline on it. Carl will be ready exactly when he's ready and there's no one who works harder than Carl, so I''m confident he'll be back and playing soon. We just don't know exactly when.
"Carl will be progressing with baseball activities as we get into spring training and in a position to be our regular left fielder and in our lineup for the bulk of the regular season.''
He added that Crawford would resume hitting "at some point during spring training,'' and that he would be ready to rejoin the lineup "at some point early in the season.''
Cherington said Crawford experienced "soreness'' in the wrist earlier this month when the outfielder began to ramp up his hitting in preparation for spring training.
"It was consistent with some soreness Carl had periodically over the last couple of years,'' said Cherington, "but more concerning to Carl because of the time of year he was feeling it.''
He later underwent an MRI, which led to the procedure, which was performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan. Cherington described the procedure as "routine.''
"We feel like this is an opportunity for Carl to feel better,'' said Cherington, "and be healthier when he's recovered from this procedure, which we're confident he will recover from it, and go into the 2012 season with a fresh mind and confident that the wrist is feeling good and that he's in a position to be Carl Crawford.
"We think this time of the year is a lot better than the end of spring training. He's got a chance to do a lot of work and recover and be active for us for the majority of the season.''
After signing what was at the time the second-biggest deal in franchise history, Crawford began his first season in Boston poorly and never seemed to fully rebound.
He finished the year at .255 -- some 40 points off his career average before last year -- with an on-base percentage of .299 and a slugging percentage of .405.
He added 11 homers and knocked in 56 runs.
Crawford is the second Red Sox outfielder to undergo off-season surgery. Ryan Kalish underwent a second shoulder surgery in November, and like Crawford, won't be fully cleared at the start of spring training.
Nonetheless, Cherington said the Red Sox had sufficient outfield depth in the organization to withstand the injuries in the spring and beginning of the season.