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Looking for answers to fix Carl Crawford

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 29, 2011 05:34 PM

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Carl Crawford is hitting .160 with a .202 on-base percentage. Among qualified players, he has the worst OBP in the majors and the fifth-lowest batting average. He has scored just six runs and has six RBIs in his first 23 games as a member of the Red Sox.

It's remarkable that on April 29, the Sox are to a point where Crawford is the man who sits when Terry Francona wants to give Darnell McDonald some playing time.

According to Francona, hitting coach Dave Magadan is focusing on mechanical issues with Crawford’s swing.

“If there’s one thing I know they’re talking about, it’s just getting ready sooner,” Francona said. “When it’s a rush, it’s a little but harder to see the ball and to react. They’re trying to get him ready a little earlier.”

Crawford has an exaggerated open stance, with his right foot touching the boundary of the batters’ box. That stance has worked well for him in previous years. But now he appears to be a split-second late getting in a position to hit.

“People talk about your mechanics. Well, if you’re not seeing the ball you can’t have good mechanics,” Francona said. “It all goes hand in hand.”

Even when he is going well, Crawford is not a particularly patient hitter. But he is averaging only 3.61 pitches per plate appearance, among the fewest in baseball.

“I know he’s always been aggressive. When you’re throwing out 200 hits, that’s OK,” Francona said. “We don’t want guys to necessarily change. We want them to use their strengths. Everybody is a little bit different.”

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