FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Earlier this week, Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford was told to curtail hitting or throwing for a few days due to some inflammation in his surgically repaired left wrist. On Friday, Crawford was cleared to start throwing again.
"Next is going to be some light swinging -- in the cage, off the tee, in a controlled environment," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I asked about him running the bases, and the time is not for that yet."
When camp started, Crawford thought he might be able to return by Opening Day. But once the inflammation occurred, it became almost a foregone conclusion that Crawford will start the season on the disabled list.
"I never try to have the calendar dictate the health of a player," Valentine said. "I think Carl understands that this is like a tree -- if you will, or your garden. In time, the fruit will be there. We can't rush the process. You can't allow what happened last time to happen again by letting the calendar dictate the healing process.
"It takes time. When we allow him that time, I think he's going to be healed physically so that he can play without pain, without cause of concern. I don't know when that is. I'm not planning on him [for Opening Day]."
Valentine said he is comfortable with his depth in the outfield. Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald will all be asked to fill in during Crawford's absence.
"Yeah, if everyone is able to perform like I'm hoping they're able to perform, and again, I haven't seen a whole lot of it," Valentine said. "We're up to 16 at-bats per outfielder. They're all rusty at-bats. We'll see. You build on those 16, get up to 35, then you start to see what you really have after about 30, 35 at-bats."