Boston Red Sox: Carl Crawford Is Final Piece of Puzzle to Spark Big Second Half

Sean O'NeilSenior Analyst IJuly 16, 2012

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox knocks in two runs in the 4th against the Baltimore Orioles  at Fenway Park September 21, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The biggest theme for the Boston Red Sox in 2012 has easily been the plague of injuries which has seemingly been set upon them.

Somehow, they have still managed to play .500 baseball without several top players and now their fortunes may be turning.

In the past three days, Jacoby Ellsbury returned from the disabled list and started for the first time since the first week of the season, Clay Buchholz came off the DL, Will Middlebrooks came back after missing several games due to a hamstring strain and belted a home run and Adrian Gonzalez has been cleared to play.

The core of the team is returning to full health, and now for the first time in 2012, Carl Crawford is suiting up for Boston.

Crawford is "ready to go" and he could be the final piece of the puzzle to spark Boston's success in the second half.

It may take Crawford a week or two to fully shake off the rust, but Red Sox Nation needs to remember that Crawford is a top-tier baseball player, and his 2011 campaign shouldn't be how he is remembered.

Crawford is still a high-quality baseball player and after a year getting used to Fenway and the city of Boston, he's going to be ready to play like he did for the Rays.

His presence will raise the morale of other players in the locker room. Some players will be getting a friend back on the field and the young guys will have another veteran to look up to and learn from.

The Red Sox are slowly bandaging up all of their wounds and the return of Crawford is one of the final pieces of stitching.

Look for Boston to light it up in the second half with Carl Crawford as a centerpiece to their playoff run.