Carl Crawford hitless in first minor league rehab game

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Good news for the Red Sox, as WEEI’s Alex Speier brings word that Carl Crawford began a minor league rehab assignment today with the organization’s Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Crawford, who had offseason wrist surgery and was later diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, went 0-for-3 with two walks while serving as the designated hitter. He was retired on a couple ground outs and a fly out to center field.

Crawford figures to DH for a few more games before testing his elbow by playing the field. Assuming the high-priced outfielder spends the maximum 20 days on his rehab assignment, that will set him up to return when the Red Sox begin the second half of the season on July 13 against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Of course, Crawford isn’t the only member of Boston’s outfield on the comeback trail. Jacoby Ellsbury has been taking batting practice and running the bases this week as he recovers from a right shoulder subluxation and could soon be ready for a rehab assignment of his own.

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.