NEW YORK — Carl Crawford is not in Saturday's lineup against the Yankees and is not happy about it.
Manager Bobby Valentine says it is part of a scheduled four-day timetable, mandated by the Sox medical staff to prevent future injuries and further strengthen Crawford's injured elbow.
But to be absent in the middle game of a critical series at Yankee Stadium, especially against CC Sabathia, a pitcher he is hitting .319 lifetime (22 of 69) against? Well, Crawford says that's embarrassing.
"You don't like ... I don't want to run from guys," said Crawford, visibly frustrated with his day off. "It feels more like I'm hiding from somebody instead of not playing against them. It's more embarrassing than anything. My body's fine right now."
Valentine said that the Sox are building to a point this season where Crawford will no longer need four days on and then one day off.
The only problem? When Crawford returned to the Sox lineup following minor league rehab starts, he played six straight days, resting on July 22 against Toronto. Boston also had an off-day Wednesday before the Yankees series.
Valentine was informed of Crawford's four-day timetable at the start of the Blue Jays series, and ignored it to keep his left fielder in the lineup.
"Actually, I did a manager no-no thing and went against what I was told to do," Valentine said. "Never to be done again.
"They told me before that game that he wasn’t playing, and I kind of did the old veto power. ‘Who says he's not playing?’ And I played him."
Crawford said Valentine texted him Saturday morning to inform him of his impending lineup absence, and only heard about this four-day program today.
"Could I play?" Crawford said. "I could play today, but like I said, they're following that method right there, and I'm just going along with how the way things are.
"Once I get ready for the game, I'm ready for the game. I think the medical staff knows that at some point early on they wanted to get me a day off, and I got that day off. I guess, you know, they've talked, and said this is best for me, and they have to go with what's best for me.
Reiterating that Tommy John surgery has become inevitable, Crawford said that he has been playing through the strain and tightness, but it has not affected him at the plate. The recovery timetable for such surgery for position players is around 5 to 6 months, about half of what it is for pitchers.
"I'll try not to even think about it," Crawford said. "I go out and play, try not to think about it. I figure one day it'll blow out, and when that happens, time to go. The later I wait to get it done, the more time I'm going to miss. I guess you guys can do the calculation on that and see how that works. I definitely know that at some point of my career I can't keep playing with this ligament in my elbow like that."
And if the Sox fail to make any type of run in recent weeks, Crawford did not rule out going under the knife before the season ends, cutting his losses with a focus on an earlier return in 2013.
"That would be the smart thing to do," Crawford said. "You definitely want to take care of it as soon as possible. Like I said we'l have to wait and see. That's why I try to get back so quick and help the team. If I can help I still want to do that. If not, we'll probably have to look into it."