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Red Sox notebook

A busy day for Crawford

He takes swings, receives apology

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / February 26, 2012
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FORT MYERS, Fla. - For Carl Crawford, it could not have been a more productive day.

The Red Sox left fielder had a one-on-one meeting with John Henry yesterday to discuss the owner’s comments last fall that he didn’t want to sign Crawford. He then took pain-free swings in the batting cage and met with his private baserunning tutor.

Henry had told 98.5 The Sports Hub that he was against signing Crawford but bowed to the wishes of former general manager Theo Epstein.

“I think that I should have never made those comments,’’ Henry said yesterday. “It was an off-the-cuff remark I shouldn’t have made. When I see him I’m going to apologize to him for it.’’

That meeting came right after the team’s workout as Henry and Crawford talked for about 15 minutes in a room adjacent to the clubhouse.

“It went really well. He was real apologetic,’’ Crawford said. “I told him there was no hard feelings. We share the same goal and that’s to help us win and get back to where we should be.’’

Crawford said a few days ago that Henry’s comments had offended him. But he came away from yesterday’s meeting in a good frame of mind.

“I like those kind of meetings where you just kind of clear the air and make everything better,’’ he said. “I think it’s best for the organization and best for everybody that we all get along and that’s the way it should be.

“I accepted it, which wasn’t hard to do. He’s the kind of guy who is really soft-spoken, really easy to talk to. He actually came in with a smile on his face so I knew things were going to be good from there. He handled it really well and made it really easy for me.’’

Said David Ortiz: “I think that was great. I don’t blame either of them. I don’t blame Mr. Henry and I won’t blame CC. Mr. Henry was getting a lot of pressure from everywhere, a lot of heat. I can’t imagine being in his shoes. I think he did the right thing, talking to CC. Now everybody is on the same page.’’

Crawford also took 30 swings in the cage. His left wrist, surgically repaired in January, is holding up well. He swung at an estimated 80 percent effort and soon could advance to hitting on the field.

Manager Bobby Valentine said at the start of camp that Crawford might miss a few weeks of the regular season. Now it seems at least possible he could be ready for Opening Day.

“Talking to Carl, I wouldn’t doubt many things. He seems very determined,’’ Valentine said.

Crawford also met Mike Roberts to work on his baserunning.

Roberts, the former coach at the University of North Carolina, worked with Crawford in the past at the suggestion of his agents. Roberts is the father of Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts and now manages the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League.

The two spent time on a practice field going over footwork. Crawford stole 18 bases last season, the fewest of his career.

“I’m for whatever works for my players,’’ Valentine said. “I have my coaches keeping an eye on him because I don’t want him to pull a hamstring. But if Carl is happy with it, so am I.’’

Valentine praised

Team chairman Tom Werner said the ownership group is pleased with Valentine so far.

“So far he’s done everything we could have hoped,’’ Werner said. “He’s been in the community. He’s talked to almost all the players individually. He’s bringing a certain strong work ethic to spring training.

“I don’t think any of us were happy about the way we got off to our start last year. I think we’re going to be prepared Opening Day.’’

Words to live by

The Red Sox have dressed up their new clubhouse at JetBlue Park with World Series banners hanging from the ceiling and most recently with two quotations painted in large letters on the walls above the lockers on one side of the room.

One is from Ted Williams. It says: “Ballplayers are not born great. They’re not born great hitters or pitchers or managers, and luck isn’t a big factor. No one has come up with a substitute for hard work.’’

The other is from Carl Yastrzemski: “I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m playing it.’’

Ceremonial opening

Henry, Werner and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino took part in a ceremony to open JetBlue Park. Over the course of the day, an estimated 15,000 people toured the new facility . . . The “B’’ game against the Pirates March 7 has been canceled and Valentine is seeking a new game on another date . . . Righthander Ross Ohlendorf, who has been dealing with a sore back, has started throwing in the bullpen and is only a few days behind the other pitchers . . . Valentine on his rules for the players: “The rules are not to embarrass themselves or the team, the community, their teammates, themselves. I don’t think that’s a new rule. That’s a longstanding rule of life.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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