Most of the updates about Carl Crawford’s recovery from wrist surgery have involved setbacks or delays this spring, and now Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes: “Don’t expect Crawford to join the Red Sox before May.”
That’s not an official timetable, at least not yet, but according to Abraham he’s yet to take batting practice and will stay behind in extended spring training once the season begins.
Bobby Valentine has said previously that Crawford will need “50 at-bats somewhere” before potentially being cleared to rejoin the Red Sox, which means he’ll be several weeks away from returning after he resumes game action. And he’s not close to that yet.
Initially when Crawford underwent surgery in January the hope was that he’d miss just 2-3 weeks of the regular season, but at this point even early May seems optimistic. Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross will be Boston’s starting corner outfielders for at least a month.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.