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Red Sox might shut down Crawford for rest of season

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford steals second base

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford steals second base as Jayson Nix applies a late tag in the first inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. (Aug. 18, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The latest debate in what has been a tumultuous season for the Red Sox revolves around Carl Crawford's elbow.

The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Crawford planned to tell the organization that he wants to have Tommy John surgery, ending his underwhelming season, to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow that he has had since April.

Before Sunday night's game against the Yankees, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that he and members of the organization and medical staff will meet with Crawford Monday to determine if surgery is the best option at this time.

Crawford has said that famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews told him after his initial examination in April that he would require surgery. But with the Red Sox's approval and insistence that surgery might not be required, he agreed to use more conservative treatment and play through the pain with the team in contention for the playoffs. With the Red Sox entering Sunday night three games under .500 and seven games behind Baltimore for the second wild-card spot, shutting down Crawford for the rest of the season could help him avoid starting the 2013 season on the disabled list.

"[General manager Ben Cherington] and I just talked about it," Valentine said. "When [Crawford] can't play, he tells me he can't play and I haven't heard that today. Tomorrow, we have an off day and we'll take that time to talk to Carl and the doctors and kind of get to the bottom of this entire situation."

So Crawford, 31, was in the lineup for perhaps the final time this season. The outfielder entered the game hitting .283 with a .308 on-base percentage, three home runs, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases in 30 games.

Cherington has said the timing of the surgery is not dependent on the Red Sox's record but on what is best for a player in which the team has a long-term commitment.

"We will talk to him again and sort of look at all the available information again and just try to work with him, trying to figure out the right path for him and us," he said.

Crawford, who was unavailable to the media before the game, is in the second year of a seven-year, $142-million contract he signed with the Red Sox as a free agent. After having the worst season of his career in his first year with the Red Sox, he opened this season on the disabled list after having surgery on his wrist in January and he missed 89 games before returning in mid-July. He suffered the elbow injury in April while rehabbing in Florida.

The fate of his elbow, and his season, will likely be determined Monday.

"We'll focus the decision more on what's best for Carl," Cherington said, "and what gives him the best chance to be the player we know he can be for the longest period of time."

New York Sports