Carl Crawford’s Return to Starting Role Expected, But Spot in Batting Order Still Unclear

Carl Crawford's Return to Starting Role Expected, But Spot in Batting Order Still UnclearThe Red Sox got a shot in the arm to start the season's second half when they welcomed back both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford from the disabled list.

With Ellsbury, it was clear what his return would mean to the Boston lineup. Ellsbury would reclaim his spot atop of the order, and everyone else would fall in behind him. Where Crawford will fall in, though, is still uncertain.

The outfielder made his return on Monday night, and he hit second, but with Dustin Pedroia set to return soon, Crawford could looking for a new home in the order soon.

Don Orsillo addressed that and more in his weekly mailbag.

Why does Josh Beckett work so slowly?
– Beth Pariseau

Sunday was beyond the norm and after the game we found out that his flu medication was makingJosh Beckett dizzy and he described it as almost blackout periods. That caused him to be more deliberate than even he normally is. He described during the offseason to Bobby Valentine that it seemed to mess up the rhythm of Derek Jeter and other Yankees. He now seems to do it all the time, and with men on holding the baseball has always been his way to control the running game. It is hard, I think, on the defense who seem to be standing around a long time. Selfishly, it's also hard on announcers, with nothing really to say while he holds the ball. I think that is where Bobby first noticed it, doing Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. 

Do you think there is still a chance for the Red Sox to make the playoffs, and do you think the Red Sox should trade for a starting pitcher like Ryan Dempster or Cole Hamels, or another bat like Justin Upton?
– Ricky MacGregor

I do think with the additional wild card the playoffs are well within reach at this point of the season, especially with all the players returning from health issues and the team coming together. I really do not envision a major trade of any kind. I really think baseball as a whole will be making many fewer trades at the deadline than ever before because of the sheer number of teams who believe they are still in it due to the added wild card. If teams become sellers it sends a bad message to their fanbase and the clubhouse if they are in striking distance,which most team now will be at the deadline. I believe the waiver trades could increase more than anything.

 Do you think Ryan Sweeney will get traded? If so, for whom, and what teams do you think would be interested?
– Craig Tela

 I think Ryan Sweeney will remain. I believe the original plan that was constructed in January is the one that the Red Sox can finally have now. Carl Crawford in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and a platoon ofCody Ross and Sweeney in right. That was the plan and it was derailed due to injuries. Now you can go ahead and field the team you expected. I think you have the pieces necessary finally and now you just need to keep them all healthy and have no setbacks.

When Carl Crawford makes his return, will he have a starting spot, or will he have to fight for it?
– Bryce Horsfall 

Given Crawford's salary and expectations, it makes sense that he got his job back upon his return. He will be right back in the starting lineup. The real question will be where Bobby Valentine hits him in the order. He generally did not like hitting low in the order last year, but he didn't really earn an opportunity ot hit near the top after struggling to produce last season. But his starting status is in stone.

When do you think we will see Jose Iglesias up in Boston with all of these injuries? And do you think Nick Punto will make it the rest of the way, or will we see him in a trade package?
– Nick Berouty

Barring injuries to Mike Aviles or Nick Punto I think we may not see Jose Iglesias until September as a call-up. It's also worth bringing up that Punto has a two-year deal and as of right now will be returning for 2013 as the Sox' utility man. 

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