Multiple sources are reporting that Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has confirmed Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal’s report that Carl Crawford had surgery on his left wrist today. The Red Sox left fielder is expected to resume hitting in mid-March and could still be ready by Opening Day, though that is not certain by any means. Crawford struggled mightily in his first season withBoston and it appears that at least some of the struggles, particularly late in the season, may be attributable to pain in his wrist. After signing a $142M/ 7year deal last off-season, Crawford hit just .255/.289/.405 in 2011, with a career high strikeout rate.
Wrist injuries can heavily impact a hitter’s abilities, sapping them of power and the ability to turn quickly in the ball. It is not clear whether the pain was behind Crawford ‘s struggles but it does seem like a good explanation for his precipitous drop off in production. This surgery may not solve all of Crawford’s problems at the plate, but it could hardly hurt. The team will need Crawford to return to the player that he was in 2010 if they are to keep pace with the Yankees and the Rays this coming season.
Should Crawford be delayed in his return, the team will count on a combination of Darnell MacDonald, Mike Aviles and Ryan Sweeney covering both right field and left field. With holes in the starting rotation, it seems unlikely that Boston would be willing to pay much for a left fielder for short term replacement. While this announcement may have some sentimental fans calling for the team to sign free agent Johnny Damon, it is unlikely the team will do so will Crawford expected to miss less than a month of play.