Red Sox Outfielders Will Need To Carry the Torch As Carl Crawford Recovers From Latest Setback

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Red Sox Outfielders Will Need To Carry the Torch As Carl Crawford Recovers From Latest SetbackFirst, Jacoby Ellsbury was sidelined for the first half of the season. Now, Carl Crawford is expected to miss time after he was diagnosed with a left elbow ulnar collateral ligament sprain, which isn't connected to his surgically repaired wrist.

It validates the Red Sox' trade for Marlon Byrd, who came in from the Cubs last weekend in exchange for Michael Bowden. With the announcement that Crawford will be shut down from baseball activity, it places more pressure on the outfield corps.

Through 18 games this season, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney have exceeded expectations at the plate.

Last season with Oakland, Sweeney only clubbed 11 doubles in 108 games. At this point in the year with the Red Sox, the 27-year-old has already doubled 10 times, a mark that leads the major leagues. His .383 average is also one of the tops in baseball.

Ross' contributions have been equally as striking. Since being thrown into the fire, the former 2010 NLCS MVP has responded by blasting a team-leading five homers to go along with 15 RBIs.

For the Red Sox to thrive, that offensive firepower needs to continue. But now, the onus will also fall more on Byrd and possibly, Lars Anderson.

In 2010, Byrd ?? at age 32 ¬?? proved he could hit at an All-Star level. Although he's two years older now, the outfielder has been sizzling since joining the Red Sox, amassing more hits in the series against the Twins than he tallied for the Cubs.

He told reporters in Minnesota that he credited the swell in production to working on his timing with hitting coach Dave Magadan. With Crawford out for extended time, Byrd will need to maintain that momentum to offset the injury.

Meanwhile, this is an opportunity for Anderson to shine. In recent years, the 24-year-old was viewed as trade bait, considering he was a first baseman that couldn't crack the majors with Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis able to patrol the position.

Now, he?s been given a second life as an outfielder. After hitting 14 homers and 78 RBIs in Pawtucket last season, Anderson could give the Red Sox another jolt on the offensive side of things.

The reinforcements are in place for Crawford and the Red Sox will need them.

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