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.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.