Carl Crawford Injury: Boston Outfielder Should Have Elbow Surgery Now, Not Later

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJuly 9, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JULY 7: Carl Crawford #13 completes some drills in the outfield before the second game of a doubleheader with the New York Yankees at Fenway Park July 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Crawford has been removed from his minor league rehab assignment with a mild left groin strain.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Carl Crawford has yet to play a game with the Boston Red Sox in 2012 and it should be in his best interest not to do so for the rest of the season.

Since signing with the Red Sox during the 2010 offseason, Crawford has been a bit of a disappointment. In 130 games during his first season in Boston, Crawford hit .255/.289/.405 with 47 extra-base hits, 65 runs and 18 stolen bases.

It clearly wasn’t a very good start for Crawford’s career in Boston, but we need to consider that he signed a seven-year deal, not a one- or two-year deal.

Over this past offseason, Crawford underwent wrist surgery that prevented him from starting the season on time. The only issue was that his elbow was also giving him discomfort and that would cause him to miss even more time.

Crawford started to rehab both injuries recently, but a minor groin strain set him back a few days. The issue isn’t really his groin, but his elbow. He’s admitted that his elbow is still causing him pain and surgery is probably inevitable, according to the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton.

Crawford has been diagnosed with a sprained UCL which should require Tommy John surgery, an injury that would mean him missing a significant amount of time.

Crawford was asked if he would get the surgery sooner rather than later and said, “[I] thought about it, but at this point, if I can play, I think they want me out on the field. Right now, I feel like if I couldn’t help the team, I wouldn’t get out there. I think helping the team right now is probably best for me.”

Sorry Carl, but you’re wrong. The best thing that you can do right now is to get the surgery that you need and come back next season stronger and better than ever.

Sure, people aren’t going to like that Crawford will miss the entire 2012 season. Wouldn’t they rather have him miss the rest of this season where the Red Sox are on the brink of a postseason appearance than a brand new 2013 season?

The Red Sox haven’t been great without Crawford, but they’ve clearly missed Jacoby Ellsbury more. If he doesn’t play this season it isn’t the end of the world.

Another thing to consider is that Crawford only has a sprained UCL, but that could turn into a tear with one throw. There’s no point in damaging his throwing arm any more. Doing so would put his seven-year deal in jeopardy, not to mention his career.

Some fans haven’t been happy with Crawford’s first season and a half in Boston, as he tells us during a recent interview, but he could turn that around by having the surgery sooner rather than later.

Here’s the final verdict, Carl: Go have Tommy John surgery now and come back ready to play in Spring Training next season. From there you’ll be able to prove why signing a monster contract in 2010 was a good decision and not a horrendous one.