Notes: Crawford close, Lackey plays catch

April, 15, 2012
BOSTON -- Injured Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford will fly to Fort Myers, Fla., on Monday in anticipation of finally playing in some extended spring training games. That could come as early as Tuesday, manager Bobby Valentine said.

Crawford was placed on the disabled list prior to the season as he recovers from offseason wrist surgery. His recovery was sidetracked when he felt soreness in his left elbow.

Based on how Crawford’s activity has gone at Fenway over the past few days, he is just about ready to give everything a try.

“Carl is swinging the bat extremely well,” said Valentine, who hinted that Crawford may be having more of an impact than he thinks. “He’s taking a lot of batting practice and he might’ve even been the inspiration for our play yesterday because he was taking it during the game in the cage and the sound was so loud that I think it inspired some of the guys to hit the ball hard. He was really making a loud noise in the batting cage.”

With Jacoby Ellsbury sidelined with a right shoulder injury, Crawford’s return is crucial. The Red Sox on Sunday are featuring a different outfield configuration for the fifth straight game.

In other clubhouse news:

-- Valentine said that the swelling in Ellsbury’s right shoulder is just about gone, which will allow for another evaluation. Ellsbury suffered a subluxation of the shoulder in a slide at second base in the home opener Friday. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, but further testing will let the team to determine the best plan of action.

-- Hours before Sunday’s game, right-hander John Lackey was seen throwing softly down the right-field line with head trainer Mike Reinold. It is a notable step, albeit an early one, in Lackey’s recovery from Tommy John surgery.

“He’s on a long progressive schedule and to start the throwing process is just the beginning of what will be a seven, eight-month road back,” Valentine said.

-- Outfielder Pedro Ciriaco was a candidate to be called up from Triple-A Pawtucket before the Red Sox chose to go with Che-Hsuan Lin on Saturday and then Jason Repko and Nate Spears on Sunday to bolster the outfield depth. However, Ciriaco is dealing with a side injury, Valentine said. The skipper was not clear as to what the exact issue was, saying it may involve his ribs, his side or his oblique. Valentine did not offer up a timetable for his return.

-- Pitching coach Bob McClure is back at the park after leaving Saturday with a nasty cold. Valentine said McClure is still wrestling with the sickness and will try not to exert himself.



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