Report: Carl Crawford wants to have Tommy John surgery next week

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UPDATE: Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe via email that Crawford hasn’t asked for permission and that the team is monitoring the situation.

According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Cherington also said that any decision on surgery will be based on the well being of the player, not the team’s place in the standings.

2:52 PM: Carl Crawford has been playing with a bum elbow for a while and now that the Red Sox are all but out of the playoff race, he’s ready to shut things down.

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Crawford is planning to ask the Red Sox to allow him to have Tommy John surgery next week.

Crawford began this season on the disabled list following January surgery on his left wrist, but he was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow in April. He finally made his season debut on July 16 and is hitting .287/.313/.500 with three home runs, 19 RBI and an .813 OPS in 29 games played, but surgery was reportedly considered an inevitability.

Crawford’s first two years in Boston have been a bust, but if he undergoes the surgery now, he has a better chance of being ready for 2013. Tommy John surgery usually requires around 12 months of recovery time for pitchers, but position players can come back sooner. Crawford, 31, still has five years and $102.5 million left on his contract.

Carlos Martínez to work out of Cardinals’ bullpen for rest of season

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When Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez returns from the disabled list, likely some time next week, he will pitch out of the bullpen, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Martínez has been on the disabled list since late July with a strained right shoulder. The plan is still for Martínez to start in 2019 and beyond.

GM John Mozeliak said, “If you’re going to go down that starting path and you’re starting at ground zero, the likelihood of him being back would be sometime in mid-September. And we’ve done that twice this year and ended up in the same place after a few starts.”

Martínez, 26, has a 3.41 ERA and a 98/49 K/BB ratio in 100 1/3 innings across 18 starts this season. The Cardinals’ rotation currently features Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Luke Weaver, and Austin Gomber.

The Cardinals entered play Monday 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot in the National League, so adding Martínez to the bullpen — or, subtracting him from the rotation, depending on how you look at it — could make a significant impact on the club’s playoff chances.