PORTLAND, Maine — An otherwise uneventful rehab start for Carl Crawford nearly ended in disaster.
The left fielder, rehabbing at Double A Portland from a left wrist injury that required surgery in January, and a partially torn ligament in his left elbow that has kept him on the disabled list all season, fouled a ball off his right knee in the third inning Tuesday night.
Crawford immediately fell to the ground, clutching his knee in pain, and remained there for some time. After a visit from the Sea Dogs’ trainer, Crawford shook it off and flied out to left, showing no signs of pain as he jogged to first, without a limp.
“I just hoped I hadn’t broken it,” Crawford said. “I hit it so hard at the time, so I was just hoping everything was OK.”
It was by far the most exciting moment for Crawford in his first rehab start for Portland. He went 1 for 2 with two walks, and exited in the seventh for a pinch-runner after beating out a slow roller in between the mound and first base.
In the first inning, he worked a full-count walk, stole third after advancing to second on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
“I didn’t put the bat on the ball as well as I would have liked to, but I was fine with the way I took pitches,” Crawford said.
Defensively, he got few chances to seriously test his arm in left. In the first, he held Addison Maruszak to a single with a nice throw to second. He missed a diving catch at full extension on a double by center fielder Melky Mesa in the seventh, and came up empty on a throw in the third that saw the speedy Mesa stretch a groundball single to left into a double.
In five games with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox before heading up to Hadlock Field, Crawford was 3 for 14 with a double, five walks and two runs scored.
The length of Crawford’s stay in Portland is up in the air. Per his rehab schedule, he should return to the Sox lineup after the All-Star break. The Sea Dogs start a six-game road trip to New Hampshire and Trenton on Wednesday. Crawford said he would travel, but was unclear on the Sox’s extended timetable for him.
“I’ll probably have a better idea of what I’m doing, maybe after the second day on the road,” Crawford said. “I’m pretty sure they have a target, but I don’t know what it is just yet.
“Hopefully it’ll be sooner than later.”