Crawford eyes Monday return after rehab game

Crawford eyes Monday return after rehab game

Crawford eyes Monday return after rehab game
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- "Monday, Monday" was a hit song recorded by the folk group the Mamas and Papas in 1966.

As far as Carl Crawford is concerned, Monday has nothing to do with music, but instead with the day he may return to the Boston Red Sox.

"We're taking it day by day, but Monday is the day I'm trying to reach," Crawford said after playing in a rehab game Thursday night for the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Buffalo Bisons. "I feel the pressure of everybody wanting me to be out there, so I'm trying to get as many at-bats [as I can].

"That's the fastest time that we can think of. I want to be out there myself. I know fans want me to be out there. Management wants me to be out there."

Crawford, who batted leadoff, played left field and was limited to five innings, was 2-for-3 against Buffalo right-hander Jeremy Hefner.

Hefner retired Crawford on a weak grounder to second on an 0-2 pitch in the first. Che-Hsuan Lin was on third base in the third when Crawford blooped a 1-0 pitch just inside the left-field line for a single. In his last at-bat, he lined an 0-2 pitch to center for a single.

Crawford, who made four throws from the outfield, was encouraged by the fact he was able to go all out.

"I've been able to run well," he said. "I threw the ball today -- the way I wanted to throw it. I've pretty much been able to do the things that I normally do."

Crawford is beginning a new 20-day rehab assignment.

Originally, he rehabbed from June 23-30, with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and continued with the Portland Sea Dogs from July 3-5. But Crawford, who was scheduled to continue his rehab with Pawtucket on July 7, was scratched because he strained his left groin muscle while legging out a triple on July 5 in Portland's game at New Hampshire.

Crawford, who turns 31 on Aug. 5, hit .214 (3-for-14) with five walks in five games for Gulf Coast and .400 (4-for-10) with a triple, RBI and a walk in three games for the Sea Dogs.

According to Major League rules, Crawford was eligible for another rehab assignment this year for Boston because he had not played in the previous six days.

Crawford has yet to play in 2012 for Boston because he underwent offseason surgery on his left wrist. He suffered another setback in late April when he sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his left (throwing) elbow, which he later said may require offseason surgery.

As much as anything, being patient has been a major challenge for Crawford.

"I have to be extremely patient this year and make sure things are what they should be," said Crawford, who will play nine innings Friday and Saturday and then take off Sunday. "It's been a test for me this year."

Another test for Crawford has been making an adjustment with his throwing.

"I'm trying to have the proper mechanics ... more like what you'll see a pitcher do," he said. "They throw the right way and really don't have problems.

"[The elbow] never gave me any problems when I'm swinging, so I'm not worried about my elbow at all when I'm at the plate. But the fact I'll be playing back-to-back games and my body's feeling well is encouraging. Basically, getting at-bats is a big assignment, and trying to get my timing back.

"I feel like the expectations are always going to be high," Crawford continued, "so my thing is to play within myself and really don't worry about anything else."

General manager Ben Cherington remained cautious when discussing Crawford's comeback. 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."

Mike Scandura is a contributor to Reporter Adam Berry contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.