Fresh off a three-game stint in Portland — where he went 4-for-10 with an RBI — the Red Sox outfielder will head closer to Boston this weekend as he works his way back from a UCL sprain in his left elbow with the PawSox.
The injury isn't quite in Crawford's rearview mirror, though. Crawford said the pain has continued throughout his rehab stint and will likely be there when he makes his season debut with the Red Sox.
"It's not 100 percent healthy, but I'm able to hit, so I said pretty much when I'm able to start swinging the bat, I'll play," Crawford said. "But there are still issues.
"I've been making some throws down in the minor leagues, good enough to hit the cutoff man, stuff like that. I don't know if I'll be hosing anybody out at home or anything like that. I think it's strong enough where I can hit the cutoff man, and, if I can get to the ball quick enough, stop the guys from advancing."
When doctors first diagnosed the injury, Crawford received a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate the pain. Nearly three months later, the Red Sox outfielder said the procedure has had no effect on his troublesome elbow.
For the time being, Crawford said he can handle the discomfort. If the pain persists — or worsens as he plays — he's resigned to the fact that surgery may be an option moving forward.
"Probably," Crawford said when asked about the chance of an operation if he can't perform effectively. "I'm at a point where I can get by with it, so I'm going to try to do that."
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said last month that the team was altering Crawford's throwing mechanics to ease the stress on his elbow. Either way, Crawford insists the discomfort hasn't been hindering his performance at the plate.
"If I felt like I couldn't hit the same, I wouldn't be back as quick," Crawford said. "I can't explain why it doesn't hurt when I swing a bat, but it doesn't. I feel like my hitting should be fine."
He'll adapt on the fly in the meantime.