Sox monitor Crawford's elbow; surgery no certainty

Sox monitor Crawford's elbow; surgery no certainty

NEW YORK -- Though it has been widely assumed that Carl Crawford will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, perhaps even before the end of this season, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that nothing has been decided.

Cherington spoke to reporters on Saturday, shortly after Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted, according to a source, that Crawford will ask to undergo surgery next week.

"He hasn't asked about that," Cherington said. "Carl's playing through an elbow injury. He's been trying to help the team win. It's a situation we're monitoring. We've been in close contact with him. We'll continue to talk to him and determine a course that's best for him and the team. There's nothing more than that right now."

Once again, Crawford was in manager Bobby Valentine's starting lineup against the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, batting second and playing left field.

While Crawford has been one of Boston's best hitters in recent days, Cherington was asked if the injury has worsened since the left fielder came off the disabled list.

"I'm not going to get into detail on the nature of the injury," Cherington said. "He's got an injury that he's been playing through and playing well, and gutting it out to help the team. Again, we're monitoring it, we're keeping in touch with him and seeing how he's doing with it. We'll continue to do that and focus on what's best for him and the team."

Cherington also downplayed the notion that the timing of surgery for Crawford would be based on where the Red Sox are in the standings.

"It's going to be focused on him, mostly," Cherington said. "We're not going to ask a player to go out there [if] they're having symptoms that don't allow them to be who they want to be on the field. That's not fair. It's going to be a lot more about Carl and less about where the team is."

Isn't surgery for Crawford inevitable at this point?

"Well, it's not inevitable until it happens," Cherington said. "We felt earlier this summer that it was something we had a chance to manage conservatively, and Carl was on board for that. As I said, we'll continue to monitor it, and if it gets to the point where it's not something he feels he can play with safely, then we'll consider the next step. We haven't gotten to that point yet."

A pitcher is usually out a minimum of 11-12 months following Tommy John surgery. How about an outfielder?

"It's shorter," Cherington said. "I've heard anywhere from seven to nine months. It's case by case and depends on the individual."

The start of Crawford's season was delayed first by left wrist surgery, and then the elbow problem, which was diagnosed as a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

Crawford was activated on July 16, and entering Saturday's game, he was hitting .287 with three homers and 19 RBIs. Crawford leads the Major Leagues with 10 doubles and 13 extra-base hits in August.