ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford restarted his rehab assignment Thursday night with Triple-A Pawtucket, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. If everything goes according to plan, he could join the Red Sox on Monday.
General manager Ben Cherington remained cautious when discussing Crawford's comeback, which has already seen several setbacks. After a disappointing 2011 season in Boston, Crawford hasn't played at all this year due to left wrist and elbow injuries. Cherington expected Crawford to play every day this weekend.
"We've just been taking it a day at a time. As soon as you set a target date and it changes, then it's either because something's gone wrong or you've set the wrong date. We'd rather avoid that," Cherington said. "He's coming along well. He's playing for Pawtucket, and if all goes well, we hope that we see him sometime next week. But let's get through the weekend first."
Crawford recently said he would definitely need Tommy John surgery on his injured left elbow at some point, but wanted to play through it. Manager Bobby Valentine said he hadn't heard of that option coming into play.
"We know that there are plenty of position players who have performed at a very high level with a UCL injury, and we believe Carl can do that," added Cherington. "But he's got to go do it, and ultimately, he's got to be confident he can go do that. From what he's told me and what he's told our staff, he's focused on playing and wants to play. So that's what we're focused on.
"He's feeling pretty good right now and anxious to play."
Cherington didn't want to comment on the details regarding Crawford's statement that a fan yelled a racial slur at him during a rehab game in New Hampshire, but he said the club has spoken to Crawford about it and doesn't want to see something like that happen to any of its players.
"I think he feels like what's needed to be done has been done moving forward," Cherington said. "He didn't feel like it was any reflection on baseball fans in Boston or New England."