NEW YORK — Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford would like to have surgery on his left elbow as early as this week, a major league source told the Globe on Saturday.
Crawford has not yet come to the team with that request, general manager Ben Cherington said. But with the Sox falling out of contention, the long-simmering issue is coming to a boil and could be decided in a day or two.
“It’s a situation we are monitoring and we will continue to work with Carl to determine a course that is best for him and the team,” Cherington said.
Crawford partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in April and was given an injection of platelet-rich plasma, a procedure that in some cases promotes healing.
The injection had little effect and when Crawford came off the disabled list on July 16, he said he needed Tommy John reconstructive surgery but was willing to play in pain with the team still in contention. The Sox were one game out in the wild-card race at the time.
The 59-62 Sox are now six games out of the second wild-card spot with four teams ahead of them.
Crawford was not available for comment after Saturday’s 4-1 victory against the Yankees. But he told Fox Sports before the game that the situation is something he thinks about every day. Crawford is weighing the merits of continuing to play against having surgery now and getting started on a lengthy rehabilitation process.
For position players, the rehab after Tommy John surgery usually requires 6-8 months. By getting the surgery now, Crawford would have a chance to be ready for Opening Day in 2013. If he waits until after the season ends on Oct. 3, the odds would be against him.
Crawford has hit well (.283 with a .795 OPS) in 30 games since coming off the disabled list. Through Friday, his 10 doubles and 13 extra-base hits in August were the most in the majors.
“He’s got an injury that he’s playing through and he’s playing well. He’s gutting it out to help the team,” Cherington said.
But Crawford has consistently said he expects to get the surgery because of the pain he feels when throwing. Now, the source said, he is trying to determine how best to proceed.
Cherington said the decision would be made based on what is best for Crawford and not on the standings. For now, the Red Sox are trying to determine the best course of action.
“[Surgery] is not inevitable until it happens,” Cherington said. “We felt earlier this summer it was something that we had a chance to manage and certainly Carl was on board for that. If it gets to a point where it’s not something he feels he can play with safely, then we’ll consider the next step.”Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.