Homecoming for Beckett, Crawford

July, 1, 2011
HOUSTON – Josh Beckett, who graduated from nearby Spring High School, and Carl Crawford, who starred at Jefferson Davis High School in Houston, were surrounded by the local media in the Red Sox clubhouse prior to batting practice Friday night in Houston.

Beckett is scheduled to pitch Sunday’s series finale at Minute Maid Park. Crawford (hamstring) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, but that’s not going to happen, said manager Terry Francona, so the Red Sox outfielder won’t be able to play in front on family and friends.

“It’s good to be here,” said Beckett, who finally has gotten over a two-week bout with the flu.

“It’s nice to be able to play in front of so many people you either played with or played against. It will be nice to pitch in front of a full-on cheering section,” he said.

The local media tried to get Beckett to tell stories about his baseball-playing days as a youth in Houston, but Beckett, while polite, offered little in the way of nostalgic thoughts.

“I’ve put on a lot of weight. I graduated at 140 pounds. I’m getting a little older, but I’m not in the reminiscing stage yet,” said Beckett, 31, in his 10th big-league season, who pitched a few times in Houston when he was a member of the Florida Marlins.

Crawford said he was happy to be home, but frustrated he won’t be in the lineup.

“Just being home, and I can’t play, that’s disappointing,” said Crawford. “But I love coming back home, especially during the season. You rarely get to do that.”

Crawford grew up in a tough neighborhood, and appreciates where he is right now, playing big league baseball, not to mention savoring the seven-year, $142-million contract he signed as a free agent with Boston last winter.

“It’s like a dream come true. I’ve come a long way,” said Crawford.



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