Carl Crawford didn't mince words recently when reflecting on former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and what Crawford saw as Francona's poor choice to bump him down as far as seventh in the batting order just three games into his Boston tenure.
Crawford ripped Francona's managing decisions soon after coming off the disabled list this year, saying Francona's call to drop him in the lineup last season despite his contract size and value to the team put him in a tailspin for the rest of a forgettable year.
On Tuesday, just over a week into his second year with the Red Sox, Crawford found himself at seventh in the lineup again. But this time, he wasn't calling out the manager.
"I understand now," he told reporters in Arlington, Texas, as the Red Sox prepared for their Tuesday night game against the Rangers. "Last year was more like trying to prove to the manager and all that kind of stuff. Just fighting against myself. This year I kind of understand that, OK, I might be at the bottom sometimes, I might be at the top. I'm cool with it. I've come to grips that might happen. This year, I just know to stay within myself and still just playing my game."
Manager Bobby Valentine said he and Crawford had discussed moving him around in the batting order, which Valentine ultimately did because left-hander Martin Perez was starting. Over his career, Crawford has been weaker when hitting against lefties.
"It seemed to make sense to him, made sense to me," Valentine said. "… He doesn't seem as sensitive talking to me about it. … It's tough experimenting in July, but we'll do it."
Crawford, who is 7-for-29 (.241) since coming off the disabled list July 16, has said he and Valentine communicate well, and that he's looking forward to making this year turn out better than last season, when he posted below-average hitting totals after signing a seven-year, $142 million contract.