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.
Carl Crawford still hasn't stepped onto the field for the Red Sox this season. And Jacoby Ellsbury hasn't seen all that much more playing time than Crawford. But that could all be changing very soon.
Crawford has been taking swings in the cages for a few weeks and even moved onto a full-on batting practice last week. The left fielder has also begun a throwing program that has him already looking to make a rehab assignment in the minors very soon.
As for Ellsbury, the center fielders shoulder is coming along well and it looks like the AL's reigning MVP runner-up should be back swiping bases on the diamond soon enough.
NESN | Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury could return sooner than expected for Red Sox
One of these things is not like the other. And frankly, I trust Tim Kurkjian over the Red Sox-owned NESN, which frequently reports on the Red Sox' home sellout streak without the slightest sense of irony.
Frankly, it's a little insulting to us as fans. I understand that being critical of players getting over injuries is...dangerous. I'm not saying that Ellsbury didn't suffer a serious shoulder injury, and I'm certainly not saying it was because he wasn't trying. He obviously was running hard trying to make a play, and I'm sure he wants to get back on the field to make some money. And I'm sure Crawford -- a world-class athlete and competitor by every measure -- is legitimately hurt as well.
It's just getting frustrating, and I don't need NESN trying to give me some rose-colored interpretation. Sooner than we expected? Well, I expected Ellsbury back in late May based on a 4-6-week diagnosis, and here we are on June 12 with no real timetable, but the expectation being after the All-Star Break, which would be closer to 12 weeks on the shelf. They've changed the timetable on Crawford so many times I don't even know what to expect.
The URL for that NESN link is even funnier -- it says that the two are "coming along quickly in rehab". Hilarious.
Something is wrong with the Red Sox' medical situation, and I think we've gone beyond luck at this point. Either they're signing brittle players, misdiagnosing injuries, or the players are milking the injuries and are being babies. I don't know which is real, but I come away thinking it's a combination of the first two. Whatever it is, they need to solve it soon. The Red Sox' season doesn't hinge on a Monday night loss in Miami; it hinges on them being able to put their actual team on the field as soon as possible.
On page 2, Mark Melancon doesn't have a complete meltdown.
Melancon, who found himself optioned back to the minor leagues after just four appearances, came out of the bullpen after starter Josh Beckett was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth.
He recorded a flyout, then two groundouts in a 1-2-3 inning.
"That was what I was hoping to see," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He had a much better angle on his fastball and his curveball was sharp. He looked totally in control."
"It felt good to be out there," said Melancon, who spent nearly two months at Pawtucket, waiting for a chance to return. "It was definitely tough [to be in the minors]. But at the same time, I knew why I was down there [and] everybody up here was doing really well. While I was down there, I was just staying focused and waiting for the opportunity.
Hey, some positive news. Melancon might be done being a headcase. A solid inning of work.
Jed Lowrie, by the way, is hitting .289, slugging .533, and has 12 homers in 51 games in Houston.
CSNNE | Bard gives up run in one inning out of PawSox pen | Beckett silent after mixed results vs. Marlins | First inning woes sink Beckett, Sox in 4-1 loss to Marlins | ESPNBoston | Beckett, Sox feel more frustration | Marlins use quick start to spoil Beckett's homecoming | Salty: 'We know we're better than that' | Rapid reaction: Marlins 4, Red Sox 1 | Bobby Valentine favors technology | Rich Hill could miss a month | Bard not giving up on being a starter | Herald | Red Sox can't back Josh Beckett | Bobby Valentine replays rant against umps | Red Sox bats fail to do much damage | Globe | Johnson, Marlins keep Sox reeling | An equal exchange | Hill avoids surgery, but will miss several weeks