Carl Crawford's hot bat won't be seen in the Red Sox lineup again this season. The left fielder has finally elected to undergo Tommy John surgery and repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm.
But while Crawford fixes the ailment that's bothered him throughout the season, the Red Sox are once again left in limbo at the top of their lineup. Earlier in the season, before Jacoby Ellsbury and Crawford not-so-triumphantly returned, there were ever so many combinations that attempted to fill the void. Now it would appear that there are but a few candidates prepared to take on that role.
Bobby Valentine would be happy to have some candidates offering up their services, as the troubled Red Sox manager seems concerned about making up for the production in Carl's steed.
"Without Carl, we need to make an adjustment now," a frustrated Valentine said after Boston's 5-3 loss to the Angels on Tuesday. "See which one works out best."
Daniel Nava, who was an unexpected yet welcome addition earlier this season, is back with the team once again and ready to contribute in any role possible. Nava would appear to be the most viable option to replace Crawford up at the top, as he spent 34 of his 65 appearances at the top of the order this season. He's also done the majority of his damage from the leadoff spot, driving in 16 of his 27 RBIs, and he boasts one of the best on-base percentages (.373) on the entire roster.
Another quality candidate would be Tuesday night's leadoff hitter, Pedro Ciriaco. Since his call-up on July 7, Ciriaco has been nothing short of stellar at the dish for the Sox. Hiting a team-high .327 with a solid .339 OBP definitely gives him the credentials to rock at the top.
The only other player with any sort of claim up top would be the once exiled and recently returned Scott Podsednik. While he likely can't keep up the blistering pace he's been on, hitting .356 with a .380 OBP through 29 games with the Sox, he can certainly provide some pop and has the speed to find his way around the bases quick and efficiently.
Boston may not be in an ideal position to make a push for the division or even the playoffs for that matter, but while the team continues on down the stretch they might as well see just what they have in these players going forward.
Carl Crawford is not an easy guy to replace, especially when his bat is as hot as it was when he finally went down after Sunday night. But with some quality players already vying for playing time on the roster, replacing the four-time All-Star may not be all that unrealistic.