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.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.