Crawford and Damon happy with new homes


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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Carl Crawford met with a large group of Tampa/St. Pete media this morning. He smiled his way through it, giving all the right answers.

We’ll see what happens once the season starts, especially if he gets off to a slow start. But Crawford has handled all the “transition to Boston” stuff very well.

Stopped by the Rays clubhouse to check in with Johnny Damon. He is thrilled to be with the Rays, who are essentially his hometown team. They’re his sixth team.

“When I was a younger player I never thought I’d be on this many teams,” Damon said. “I figured three teams or so. Here I am now. Still enjoying it, though. Still getting after it. Hopefully there will be another good to make me want to come back next year.”

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He said had he known the Tigers weren’t going to keep him, he would have approved that trade to Boston last August.

Terry Francona had nothing but praise for Damon.

“One of my all-time favorites. One of the best guys you could ever have playing. As a manager, you can’t appreciate him enough,” he said. “There were days he got the [expletive] beat out of him, and he’d call me in morning and say don’t not play me, and show up. He understood his obligation to play center field even if he went 0 for 4.

“I was impressed with him. He’s very dear to me. We loved him. Everybody who has been around him appreciates what he’s done.”=

Some Red Sox fans remain mad at the guy because he made a business decision to go to the Yankees. But 2004 doesn’t happen without him and that one swing in Game 7 of the ALCS is probably the biggest in franchise history. You can’t take that away from him.