Crawford close to getting some game action

Crawford close to getting some game action

BOSTON -- Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford could see time in extended spring games as soon as Tuesday, a day after he returns to the team's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

"Yeah, I think that's when I'm scheduled to play," Crawford said. "I'm happy to be playing games again."

As general manager Ben Cherington detailed on Friday, Crawford has remained in Boston through the weekend, taking batting practice. Crawford, who's been bothered by his throwing elbow, said Sunday he will not attempt to throw yet.

"I throw in a week or so," Crawford said.

Asked about how the elbow felt, Crawford said: "Well, I haven't thrown yet, so I'll know that ... when I start throwing."

His hitting this weekend had manager Bobby Valentine raving.

"Carl is swinging the bat extremely well, if you haven't noticed. He's going to be leaving for Florida tomorrow," Valentine said Sunday. "More than likely, [he will play] Tuesday. I can't guarantee that. He'd like to play at least by Tuesday."

Crawford's been hitting the ball so well that Valentine joked Crawford's batting-practice sessions were the motivation for the team's 13-run performance in a win over the Rays on Saturday. With center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury likely out for at least six weeks, Crawford's healthy return becomes even more crucial.

"He's taken a lot of batting practice. He might have even been part of the inspiration for our play yesterday," Valentine said. "He was taking it during the game in the cage. The sound was so loud that I think it inspired some of our guys to hit the ball hard. He was really making a loud noise in that batting cage."