Carl Crawford is finally beginning to make progress.
According to beat writer Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, the rehabbing outfielder felt no discomfort in his left elbow or wrist while playing long-toss from a distance of 110 feet on Saturday and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he is “pretty close to playing in baseball games.”
Crawford will spend around a week getting action in simulated games before embarking on a minor league rehab assignment. If he’s able to avoid setbacks, he could return to the Red Sox around the All-Star break.
The 30-year-old has been sidelined all season. He signed a seven-year, $142 million free agent contract before the 2011 campaign and batted just .255 with a measly .694 OPS in his first go-around with Boston.
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.