Valentine: Crawford won't play Opening Day

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Valentine: Crawford won't play Opening Day

FORT MYERS, Fla. Manager Bobby Valentine said left fielder Carl Crawford is progressing after a setback last week on his left wrist, on which he had arthroscopic surgery in mid-January. But, despite the improvements, Valentine said he is not planning on having Crawford in his Opening Day lineup.

Crawford threw at 60 feet for I think 35 throws and he was pain free, Valentine said before Friday nights game against the Pirates. Everyone liked what they saw. And better yet everyone felt as good afterward as before the throwing session. The coaching staff and medical staff have met on Carl to try to map out not necessarily a schedule but at least a workload concept where we could all -- the training room and the hitting coach and the outfield coach, manager, et al -- could be kind of on the same page as far as what needs to be done and how were going to do it.

Crawfords next milestone will be swinging a bat in the batting cage off a tee.

Valentine has stressed the importance of letting the recovery take its own process and not focus on Opening Day or any other date on the calendar.

I never try to have the calendar dictate the health of a player and I think Carl understands that, Valentine said. This is like a tree, if you will, in your garden. In time the fruit will be there but we cant rush the process. You cant allow what happened last time the setback to happen again by trying to let the calendar dictate the healing process. It takes time. When we allow him that time I think hes going to be healed physically so that he could play without pain, without cause of concern. And I dont know when that is.

To tell you the truth, Im not planning on him for Opening Day. I think I said that, too, coming in, and then I might have changed my mind when he started hitting and throwing early. But I have to go back to the original.

How Crawfords absence will affect the outfield depth remains to be determined.

If everyones able to perform like Im hoping they perform -- and again, I havent seen a whole heck of a lot of it. I guess were up to 16 at-bats I guess per outfielder, and theyre all rusty at-bats, but well see, Valentine said. You build on those 16, get up to 35 and youll start seeing what you really have.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."

Blakely: Jae Crowder is more than 'just another guy' on Celtics

Blakely: Jae Crowder is more than 'just another guy' on Celtics

As the NBA trade deadline gets closer and closer, A. Sherrod Blakely helps shed some light as to why the Boston Celtics may be unwilling to part ways with Jae Crowder