On the heels of the worst professional season in his 10-year career, the outfielder is pushing himself to the limit. So after missing the first half of the Red Sox season, Crawford is aiming to rejoin to the Red Sox on Monday.
While his elbow will likely require Tommy John surgery, he's accelerating the rehab process nonetheless. And the disappointment from the 2011 season is the underlying factor behind Crawford's looming return.
"I feel the pressure of everybody wanting me to be out there," said Crawford, who played five innings for Triple-A Pawtucket against Buffalo on Thursday night. "I want to be out there myself. I know the fans want me to be out there, the management — everybody wants you to be out there, plus you want to be out there."
In his first game for PawSox, the four-time All-Star added some punch to the lineup, going 2-for-3 with one run. His single in the fifth inning trigged a four-run rally for Pawtucket.
As expected, Crawford didn't showcase his arm strength in the outfield. During the Red Sox's home stand against the Yankees, he appeared resigned to the fact that he'd only fire throws over to the cutoff man.
When fielding on Thursday, Crawford did just that, tossing balls to shortstop Jose Iglesias or third baseman Andy LaRoche. Shortly after exiting the game, Crawford insisted he'd be much more aggressive with his throws with the Red Sox.
"When I'm throwing, I just said 'Whenever [it blows out], it happens'," Crawford said. "But I'm not going to hold back once I get on the field. When I take that field, I'm going to go all out."
Moving forward, Crawford will play two full games for the PawSox before getting a breather on Sunday. The only tweak necessary, Crawford said, was to regain his timing at the plate before Monday's return.
"At this point right now, I'm able to play, so I'm going to go with it," Crawford said. "[On Wednesday] we picked [the date]. Whether I'm ready or not, I'll be out there."
And it's all attributed to the pressure.
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