While Carl Crawford is still progressing nicely from his wrist surgery, Bobby Valentine is being very careful about setting a return date. And by "careful" I mean, "straight up refusing to".
"It might realistic, but it doesn't seem it," said Valentine when asked if he believed Crawford could return two weeks into the season. "It might escalate, I don't know. Are we going to ask him to have 50 at-bats somewhere? Probably. So you have to do the math on that. ... I think we have a target, but it's not a bulls-eye."
Valentine reiterated the need for Crawford to take his progression day-to-day, and not get wrapped up in a target date for his return.
"The only think I know about that is you don't want to put anybody rehabbing under the pressure of a deadline," the manager said. "It can never be the calender or the schedule when a guy is healthy. It's not fair."
Giving Crawford a target date was going to backfire one way or another. He was either going to push himself even harder to be ready, putting himself at risk for another setback. Or, he would end up saying he was ready when he very well may not have been and felt uncomfortable at the plate, putting his wrist, and production, at risk.
Crawford is under intense pressure this year. Not just from himself, but from the fans. If a target date was made public, Carl wasn't going to miss it. This was a smart move by Bobby.
As we've stated before, the Sox can survive without Crawford for 2, 3, 4+ weeks. We can't have him coming back too early and needing further surgery on his wrist. Crawford is going to do big things this year, folks. Big things. But only if he's healthy.