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Crawford aces his first test

He sees good signs in Pawtucket stint

By Mike Scandura
Globe Correspondent / July 16, 2011

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Of all the things Carl Crawford was concerned about last night, one stood out above the rest.

“The most important thing was being able to break out of the box like I normally can . . . to be able to move quick without worrying about my hamstring,’’ Crawford said after playing five innings in a rehab game for Pawtucket against the Durham Bulls. “I had a few moments tonight where I was able to test it.’’

One of those moments occurred in the third inning after Crawford drew a one-out walk from Lance Cormier and Ryan Lavarnway followed with a hit-and-run single.

“That felt good. That was a time I had a chance to test it. I also had a chance to test it in the outfield,’’ Crawford said, referring to the fourth when he ranged far to his right and caught a fly ball. “That also felt good.

“I had to do some stopping and starting. When you stop real quick and nothing happens that’s a good sign.’’

Crawford played left field, batted third, and was 1 for 2 in the PawSox’ 3-2 win. He came to bat in the first against lefthander Alex Torres with men on first and third and dumped a broken-bat, RBI single into center field.

After drawing that third-inning walk, Crawford came up in the fifth after Daniel Nava led off with a single. Crawford hit a sharp grounder in the shortstop hole, which resulted in Nava being forced. From there, Crawford walked home on Lavarnway’s homer to left.

Crawford was placed on the disabled list June 18 after straining his left hamstring while trying to beat out an infield hit the previous day against Milwaukee.

Making the injury more aggravating for Crawford was the fact that, after a frigid first month-and-a-half, he finally was heating up at the plate. In the 21 games prior to the injury, Crawford hit .316 with four home runs and 17 RBIs.

“Just to get injured - period - I don’t care what time it is can be very disappointing,” he said. “I wasn’t happy about it and definitely wish it hadn’t happened.”

Crawford had hoped to be back in action sooner.

“It’s been a little disappointing because, obviously, I didn’t want to be out this long,’’ he said. “But I’m doing everything the right way and making sure when I do get back on the field it doesn’t happen again.

“I’ve been real cautious with everything.’’

Caution was the key word when it came to Crawford only playing five innings.

“We’re just trying to get my legs back under me right now,’’ he said. “We didn’t see the need to play nine innings. As long as I was able to do a few things that I can do when I’m in the big leagues, we thought that’s all I need to do.’’

But that plan most likely will change tonight when Crawford plays his second, and presumably last, rehab game.

“I want to try and do everything two days in a row to make sure there isn’t any pain or anything like that,’’ he said. “After that happens, I’ll be ready to go.

“This is the first time I’ve had a hamstring injury, so I definitely want to be careful with how I treat it. Unless something really bad happens [this morning], I hope to play nine innings.’’

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