Carl Crawford cleared to return to Red Sox on Monday

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Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford played in rehab games Friday and Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket without feeling any discomfort in his left hamstring, according to Mike Scandura of the Boston Globe, and has been cleared to return to the major leagues.

Crawford will be activated from the disabled list before Monday’s series-opener against the Orioles and should start two of three games in Baltimore.

The 29-year-old managed just one single and a walk in six plate appearances with the PawSox, and he saw very few chances in the outfield. But the Red Sox are confident that his timing will be fine and that he is ready to contribute again at the big league level.

Crawford was batting .243/.275/.384 with six homers, eight steals and 31 RBI before landing on the disabled list in mid-June with a hamstring strain. He signed a seven-year, $142 million contract in December.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.