Carl Crawford expected to begin minor league rehab assignment Saturday

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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.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.