At long last, Carl Crawford is ready to play in a baseball game again.
According to Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said today that Crawford is expected to serve as the designated hitter Saturday with the organization’s Gulf Coast League affiliate.
Crawford began this season on the disabled list following January surgery on his left wrist and then suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. If he uses the maximum 20 days on his rehab stint, which appears likely given the long layoff, that puts him on track to return when the Red Sox begin the second half of the season on July 13 against the Rays.
Crawford is in his second season of a seven-year, $142 million contract. The 30-year-old is looking to rebound after delivering a disappointing .255/.289/.405 batting line and a .694 OPS last year.