Carl Crawford is the best player in the history of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise. Perhaps someday Evan Longoria will have a say in that argument, but Crawford was king for the Rays over the course of nine spectacular years.
The All-Star left fielder will have the chance to reconnect with old friends when he leads the Red Sox into a matchup with the Rays on Thursday afternoon.
"It's gonna be weird just standing on the other side, facing one of the guys you got ready before games with all the time and just being in a Red Sox uniform," Crawford said. "I've got to get used to it. I'm glad I'm getting used to it in spring training."
Crawford is Tampa Bay's all-time leader in games played, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, RBIs and stolen bases. He is also the franchise leader in batting average with a .296 career mark with the Rays.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is looking forward to seeing his former left fielder and thanking him for his service.
"I have not had the chance to congratulate him in person on his new contract," Maddon told MLB.com. "We did the texting thing a little bit and he responded. [But] I have not had the chance to in person tell him how much I appreciate what he had done for us."
Red Sox vs. Rays
Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, Fla.
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 10.80 ERA) vs. RHP Andy Sonnanstine (0-2, 20.25)
The two righties have combined to give up 18 runs on 17 hits (seven home runs) in nine innings so far this spring.
|Ben Zobrist, CF
Johnny Damon, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
Sam Fuld, LF
Matt Joyce, RF
B.J. Upton, CF
Dan Johnson 1B
Reid Brignac, SS
John Jaso, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Mike Cameron, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Ryan Kalish, RF
Nate Spears, 1B
Paul Hoover, C
Oscar Tejeda, 2B
Jose Iglesias, SS
The Rays outscored the Red Sox 50-31 in going 5-0-1 against during spring training last year.