Red Sox Outfield Poised for Shakeup with Looming Returns of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury

Red Sox Outfield Poised for Shakeup with Looming Returns of Carl Crawford, Jacoby EllsburyThe West Coast trip didn't treat the Red Sox particularly well.

After winning eight of 10 games heading into the series against the Mariners and Athletics, the Red Sox dropped five of seven games, including a sweep in Oakland.

As the Red Sox head back home, they will look to regroup. In the meantime, let's take a look at this week's mailbag.

Darnell McDonald just signed w/NYY, thoughts?
-@KanBilly, via Twitter

To be more accurate, the Yankees claimed Darnell McDonald off waivers after the Red Sox designated him for assignment over the weekend. As for my thoughts, it's a move that makes sense for New York.

With Brett Gardner sidelined, the Yankees have been forced to lean on Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez to patrol the outfield. Both veterans were initially signed to be designated hitters for the offense.

DeWayne Wise, the team's other outfielder, isn't much of an offensive asset. As a result of the circumstances, the Yankees were smart to pluck McDonald –– a versatile outfielder with a good bat –– off waivers.

What is your best guess as to how the outfield will work out?
-@utahutes24, via Twitter

Based on the trajectory of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury's minor league rehab assignments, they are poised to return to the Red Sox shortly after the All-Star break. Once they return, they'll take the two starting spots.

There's no other way around it. Both players are All-Stars and getting paid a hefty amount of money to perform, and perform at a high level, for the Red Sox. So there's no way that guys like Ryan Kalish or Scott Podsednik –– as sharp as they've been –– will usurp Crawford and Ellsbury.

Considering how much Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine likes Daniel Nava, I believe he'll still remain in the mix. Thus, I'd envision Crawford and Ellsbury, with Nava and Cody Ross splitting some time.

As for Ryan Sweeney? He could wind up being a trade chip around the deadline.

If Jacoby and Carl are able to play in the minors, why not just bring them up and play with Sox? Enough already with the Kalish, Nava etc.
-Adam S. Wolmer, via Facebook

It's not quite that easy for players to go from missing an abundance of time to going immediately back to the majors, Adam. Having players undergo minor league assignments is standard protocol.

You have to ease players back into the daily grind. Since hitting requires timing, balance and an assortment of little intricacies, Crawford and Ellsbury need that time to get repetitions and return at full strength.

These are the moments when team personnel will evaluate players and make any necessary adjustments to alleviate any lingering issues from the injuries.

What are the possibilities of LeBron James signing a monthlong contract with the Sox for some (pinch hit) AB's? Can he contribute?
-@Kinga310, via Twitter

Well, LeBron James is a die-hard Yankees fan, so I doubt that he'd ever want to contribute for the Red Sox. But I figure he's a little too busy recovering from the grind of the NBA season and enjoying his first championship.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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