Every morning we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump...
“We pretty much had to start all over,” Crawford said following a 15-minute, welcome-to-spring-training session with reporters. “I had to get my base better so I wasn’t so wide. He saw some areas I can improve in. We just kind of went over everything and did what we had to do. This year, I’m going to have to stay on top of it a little more.”
Added Magadan: “Just in watching him doing his one-handed swings in the cage it looked better. It was a very straightforward, simple movement. He was in line. He was squared to the ball. That’s what you want.”
Crawford is still dealing with other issues, including recovering from wrist surgery last month. He has been cleared to do everything but hit, and by next week, he’s expected to be ready for two-handed swings in the controlled environment of a batting cage.
Everybody who was clamoring for the Red Sox to take responsibility for last year has to have enjoyed Carl Crawford's media scrum yesterday. He was open, honest, and talked both about getting over the past and looking forward in 2012.
He admitted to mental mistakes more than physical, essentially staying he had been too stubborn to listen to hitting coaches when they pointed out mechanical issues. It sounds like he's going to try to simplify things and let his athleticism shine through. It's a good idea in theory. Here's hoping the wrist doesn't slow him down. He could have the right mindset now, but what happens if he feels some pain or weakness and has to alter his swing? He could head right down the same negative path.
I think a big part of it will be where he hits in the lineup. Sabermetric folks regularly dismiss lineup orders, and I'm sure statistically they're right. But it's clearly a big deal mentally to Crawford, and we have too much invested in him not to try to cater to him a bit. I'm wondering if an Ellsbury-Crawford-Pedroia-Gonzalez top of the order is what Bobby V. settles on. Gonzalez doesn't care (about anything), and Pedroia can hit from anywhere. Sure, it knocks Youk and Ortiz down a peg, but they're getting older and are hurt much of the time anyway. I think it's what you'll see them settle on.
On page 2, you're not gonna believe this, but Bobby Jenks doesn't feel great.
“Bobby said he’d like to take it one week at a time and I’d say that that means he’s a long ways away from thinking about baseball activities,” Valentine said. “He’s really had a terrible offseason, health-wise, and so he’s a real back-burner guy. I don’t expect to see him in many baseball activities for a while, if at all this spring.
“I would think that he would be that in-season trade that everyone would be looking for and we’d have him right here already. That’s what I’m hoping for. I would think some time into the season. Things happen differently and that’s my opinion. That’s not written with any holy grail."
So much for Jenks looking healthier. It sounds like he's a ways off, so we shouldn't expect much from him. Regardless, I think the bullpen might surprise some people this year. Bailey and Melancon both sound like they have the makeup for Boston, and I like some of the other filler pieces we have (including Morales as the lefty).
Not to mention Daniel Bard, who, as I've mentioned roughly 12,000 times, is not likely to start all year. We could see some significant in-season changes to the pitching staff between Bard, Daisuke, Aceves, and Jenks all potentially changing roles.
The rest of the links:
Herald | John Henry's stance hits home | Against it, then for it | Healthy Youk hopes to shine as elder statesman | No Lack of support from mates | Globe | Old wounds | Youkilis isn't sweating his situation | Jenks has a long way to go | ESPNBoston | Carl Crawford gets second chance | Crawford irked by Henry's remarks | Carl Crawford eyes opening day | John Henry, Terry Francona talk | Mike Aviles gets surprising shot | Bobby talks Crawford, Dice-K, Jenks | Youkilis says he's healthy, raring to go | CSNNE | Sox will bus to spring training games | Valentine not ready to label bullpen roles yet