Crawford and Ellsbury Rehab together in New Hampshire
MANCHESTER, N.H.—Local Boston Red Sox fans got a nice Fourth of July treat Wednesday night. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford were in the starting lineup for the Portland Sea Dogs (AA-Affiliate of Red Sox) as they took on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA-Affiliate of Toronto Blue Jays) just north of Boston in Manchester, NH.
Both outfielders have been on the Disabled List for quite some time and are slowly working their way back into big league shape.
Crawford has been on the DL this whole season and yet to make an appearance with the parent club due to a partial tear in the UCL of his left elbow. He had been playing in games in Fort Meyers, FL with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox prior to his recent “promotion” to the Sea Dogs, all of which is part of his rehab plan.
In five games in the GCL Crawford went just 3-for-14. But in his two games with the Sea Dogs (Tuesday and Wednesday) he is 3-for-6 with an RBI. After his seventh rehab game, which was the July 4th game in Manchester, Crawford wasn’t showing any noticeable pain and was fine with where he stood, “Overall my body feels well. I’m still in a battle a little with my elbow. I like where I’m at so far,” said Crawford who went 2-for-4 with an RBI on America’s Birthday.
In his rehab appearance on Tuesday in Portland, Crawford fouled a ball off his knee and fell to the ground. This provided a minor scare for Crawford and Red Sox Nation but it didn’t seem to bother him in Wednesday night’s game, “[My knee] wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I’m getting through it.”
Crawford isn’t a newcomer to rehab appearances having played two games with the Pawtucket Red Sox last season as he was recovering from a hamstring strain suffered in mid-June of last season.
Crawford’s focus right now is to get back with the Red Sox as fast as possible and doing so by accomplishing the simple stuff, “I’m just trying to stick with my approach, do the little things that I got to do to get ready and get back to the big leagues, and make sure the body is healthy and stuff like that,” said the 30-year old speedster.
Its easy to imagine the frustrations Crawford is going through watching the Red Sox struggle a bit and knowing he can’t contribute to make them better. He spoke a little bit about that following the game on Wednesday, “You feel bad because you want to be out there and help your team but its just unfortunate that everybody keeps going down and we keep having all these injuries, especially when we start to play well we get injuries. It’s a tough thing to watch, you wish you were out there helping the team.”
Switching over to the Red Sox other prized outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury went a mere 1-for-4 Wednesday night in his first game with Portland on his current rehab schedule. Previously, he too was in Fort Meyers, FL playing with the GCL Red Sox. With them, he went 2-for-10 including a Home Run.
Much like Crawford, Ellsbury seemed satisfied with his performance Wednesday night as well as how he felt afterwards, “It was good. It was nice to get out there. It was fun playing. And I was happy the way it went.
In the post game press conference, Ellsbury noted what he needs to do to get back up to major league par as well as what he is currently working on to do so, “For me, I got to test [my shoulder], it has to be battle-tested,” said the 2011 A.L. All-Star, “Down in the GCL you try to get some at-bats, just try to get some swings and up here you try to see some pitches and maybe try to make some game adjustments. But ultimately you got to battle-test it before you go back out there.”
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, Ellsbury had appeared in 69 total games with the Sea Dogs in both regular action as well as a few other rehab appearances. For this, Ellsbury had played in Manchester before back in his minor league playing days and he touched upon being back in the Queen City, “It’s nice. Its always a fun place to play. I definitely remember it here. It’s been a few years now but tonight: a great crowd. It was fun.”
Northeast Delta Dental Stadium housed 8, 544 fans on Independence Day to witness not only the post-game fireworks but also the Red Sox outfielders in rehabilitation action. That attendance number marks the 5th highest attendance for the Fisher Cats. Both Ellsbury and Crawford enagegd with the standing-room only crowd; signing autographs before the first pitch. Ellsbury touched upon the fan support, “The fans have been great to me. It was fun just to come out here and play. I’ve been looking forward to it since I hurt my shoulder.”
As for making it to Boston soon and contributing, Ellsbury sure thinks he and his fellow rehabbing outfielder have a lot to show for, when they make it back to the big leagues, that could perhaps get the team back to its winning ways, “We’re just itching to get back. We worked so hard just to get to this point and I think once we step onto the field its going to show all that hard work that we put in.”