Boston Red Sox' Treatment of Carl Crawford Is Disgraceful; He Needs Surgery Now

Adam MacDonaldAnalyst IIJuly 30, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JULY 21:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox strikes out in front of J.P. Arencibia #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays during the game on July 21, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Carl Crawford will eventually need Tommy John surgery. That's according to several different reports, Dr James Andrews and even Carl Crawford himself.

The left fielder indicated during his rehab from a wrist injury that he might need the procedure eventually and has brought it up periodically since his return from the DL. Now he's brought it up again, according to Didier Morais of, who quotes him as saying, "I figure one day it'll blow out, and when that happens, it's time to go."

Okay, then. Let's get him on the 60-day DL, shut him down for the entire season and get him that much-needed Tommy John surgery. That would be the most sensible route to take.

Of course, not much about this season, with the Sox finally back to a .500 record (51-51), makes a lot of sense. That's probably why manager Bobby Valentine is still playing Crawford in left in 80 percent of the team's games.


The Red Sox know their $142-million left fielder is going to need surgery, and they play him anyway? It's strange to say the least. They have done something, though, as they've now put him on a "four days on, one day off" program to alleviate the strain on his elbow.

However, this seems too arbitrary to have much value, as it kept him out of Saturday's game against CC Sabathia, against whom Crawford has good numbers.

It also led to another episode of this soap opera, with Valentine admitting, according to Rob Bradford of, that he was told not to play Crawford, yet did it anyway. This is farcical.

The communication between the manager and players has been terrible this season, but actively ignoring the advice of the doctors or training staff and playing someone on the brink of a season-ending injury is just ridiculous.

It would be one thing if he were tearing the cover off the ball; then at least the decision to play him would be justifiable given the team's struggles. But he's been bad.

In 11 games, he is 9-for-42 (.231) with just one extra base hit (a HR), two runs batted in and two stolen bases. He has been taken out of four games for a defensive replacement because clearly the Sox don't want to put undue strain on his arm.

The Red Sox are playing a dangerous game.The coaching staff and front office are well aware of Crawford's condition, as proven by their reluctance to play him for more than four consecutive days and their replacing him in the late innings of close games.

So what they're doing is putting a player out in the field knowing he could blow out his elbow any time the ball comes near him. For a player with a .593 OPS, it just doesn't seem worth it.

Then consider that he will need the surgery eventually. Tommy John requires a long rehab, so having it in the offseason would keep him out of the lineup until the 2013 All-Star Game. The more logical solution is to let him have the surgery sooner, given that he has accepted he needs it, so that he might be ready for Opening Day.

2011 was the worst season of Crawford's career. The first half of 2012 was lost to injury, and he's struggling to contribute on a team that's fighting to maintain a .500 record. Leaving surgery to the offseason would ruin almost all of 2013, too. That's three years of the expensive seven-year contract totally wasted. It's not worth the risk.

Adam MacDonald is a Scottish journalism student at GCU and has been a featured columnist for the Boston Red Sox on Bleacher Report since October 2010. You can talk to him or follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

You can also visit his website here.