Carl Crawford is back in the Sox’ lineup tonight

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Carl Crawford is set to make his 2012 debut tonight. He’ll be in the Sox’ lineup against the White Sox.  For his part, Bobby Valentine is keeping expectations low:

“I’m not expecting any immediate impact,” said Valentine. “I’m just expecting one of nine, a guy who can go out there and be a contributor. I’ve never been around Carl in a game situation and I hope that whatever he needs is provided him from his surroundings and I hope he’s healthy. I think if he’s healthy, he’ll do fine.”

Yeah, well, apart from needing Tommy John surgery I guess he’s healthy, but we shall see.

Seems like the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty telling for the Red Sox. For the first time they have an outfield that resembles that which the front office intended.  And despite all of the turmoil of the season thus far, they have managed to keep within striking distance.

Howie Kendrick to undergo an MRI after exiting game with a serious leg injury

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Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.

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Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.

Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.