Crawford set to start extended spring games

Crawford set to start extended spring games

BOSTON -- Carl Crawford initially declined the Red Sox's invitation to attend Friday's festivities for the home opener so he could focus on playing in extended spring games in Florida, but the left fielder's plans changed after his recent bout with left elbow woes.

In town anyway so he could be under the supervision of the team's medical staff, Crawford rejoined the team and took residence in a new locker in the clubhouse, the one formerly used by long-time captain Jason Varitek.

Already bouncing back from left wrist surgery, the elbow flare-up was just another annoyance for Crawford.

"This was the week I was scheduled to play [extended spring] games," Crawford said. "Just a little setback, hopefully I'll catch up. I'm guessing I'll be playing games next week, hopefully."

Crawford said he wasn't sure when he'll head back to Fort Myers, Fla., but manager Bobby Valentine indicated it could be as soon as Saturday.

The left fielder probably needs close to 50 at-bats of Minor League rehab before he can think about joining the Red Sox.

How did the elbow injury occur?

"Just down there when I was working, swinging and throwing," Crawford said. "When I tried to start throwing, I felt it. I was working on it for a while. They decided to call me up and get it checked."

The MRI showed that it was just a strain.

"I'm excited about being here, being back with the team and around the guys and here for the [home opener] and feeling that excitement today," Crawford said. "It should be an exciting time for all of us today."