Over his years with the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, Carl Crawford had been fairly steady with his contributions to his team. His career average over 11 seasons is .292. His résumé includes showing up in MVP voting twice and four elections to the All-Star game. The two seasons he spent with the Red Sox were a slight decline however due to him being plagued by injuries. Now, as he readies to come back from the elbow injury that shortened his 2012 season, he might be a little over anxious. Luckily he has Don Mattingly to help keep his rehab desires in check.
After having two seasons shortened by injury in Boston, Crawford should know better than to push things too fast. Now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he is ready for a new start. And you have to know that it must be difficult for him to hold himself back when he feels so close to being ready to go all out. Crawford still thinks he might be ready for opening day and gets a little put out with anyone suggesting that it isn’t possible. Mattingly, his new manager with the Dodgers, isn’t saying that opening day is out of the question. To his credit, Mattingly leaves that option open. What he also does however, is make it clear what the main priority for Crawford’s return is.
He has to be healthy! The Dodgers know the type of player that they could potentially have in Crawford and do not want that jeopardized by him returning too early. One thing that could sour a good year is yet another injury. The season that preceded his signing by the Red Sox was one of the best for Crawford. He was an All-Star, seventh in MVP voting, won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and generally had a great season.
No wonder the Red Sox were interested. No wonder the Dodgers still are. The key to everything is his health. Crawford might take a little time to get back up to his former level of play but it is at least likely if he remains healthy. If he were allowed to come back too early, that would mess everything up. Kudos to Mattingly and the coaching staff for tempering Crawford’s quick rehab desire. If Crawford returns to his 2010 form, no one will remember if he was a week or two late starting the season.