Report: Carl Crawford wants to have Tommy John surgery next week

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UPDATE: Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe via email that Crawford hasn’t asked for permission and that the team is monitoring the situation.

According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Cherington also said that any decision on surgery will be based on the well being of the player, not the team’s place in the standings.

2:52 PM: Carl Crawford has been playing with a bum elbow for a while and now that the Red Sox are all but out of the playoff race, he’s ready to shut things down.

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Crawford is planning to ask the Red Sox to allow him to have Tommy John surgery next week.

Crawford began this season on the disabled list following January surgery on his left wrist, but he was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow in April. He finally made his season debut on July 16 and is hitting .287/.313/.500 with three home runs, 19 RBI and an .813 OPS in 29 games played, but surgery was reportedly considered an inevitability.

Crawford’s first two years in Boston have been a bust, but if he undergoes the surgery now, he has a better chance of being ready for 2013. Tommy John surgery usually requires around 12 months of recovery time for pitchers, but position players can come back sooner. Crawford, 31, still has five years and $102.5 million left on his contract.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.