By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
Carl Crawford will be activated Monday when the Sox begin a three-game series in Baltimore. Crawford has missed a month with a hamstring pull suffered June 17.
Crawford had a two-game rehab assignment at McCoy Stadium over the weekend, managing one single and a walk in six plate appearances with the PawSox.
"He didn't swing the bat great (in the two games)," said Terry Francona, "but he's healthy, which is perfect. He got some at-bats out of the way. The timing at the plate, hopefully it will come quick. But he'll be ready to go tomorrow. There are no (physical) issues, so that's great."
The Sox are hopeful that Crawford will use his return as a fresh beginning to what has been a disappointing start to his career in Boston. His batting average didn't get over .200 until May, and although Crawford has had a handful of walk-off hits, he hasn't had nearly the impact he was projected to have when he signed a seven-year, 142 million deal with the Sox last December.
He was batting .243.275.384 with six homers, eight steals and 31 RBI before landing on the disabled list in mid-June.
"His batting average might be lower than we're used to," said Francona, "but if he comes back for the last couple of months and is that kind of terror who causes havoc, what a lift that would give us. I thought he had shown flashes of that. I don't think he had ever gotten hot like he can."
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Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.