Carl Crawford endorses Bobby Valentine, hints at issues with Terry Francona
In the two games since Carl Crawford returned from the DL, the left fielder is excelling. Crawford is 4-for-7 with four runs scored, an RBI and three stolen bases. The numbers are certainly impressive for a player who, at points this year, had fans wondering if he would ever play this season. While Crawford certainly has much more to prove, his two-game start shows some promise.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com spoke with Crawford about his early success since his return from the DL, and Crawford had some revealing things to say about the managerial changes over the offseason and how they have affected him as a player. Crawford claimed he feels more comfortable with Bobby Valentine as manager than with former bench boss Terry Francona.
“I didn’t feel like I had the manager’s confidence,” Crawford told Bradford of his relationship with Francona. “I don’t know about the organization, but I don’t try and look past the manager, so I feel like I didn’t have the manager’s confidence, therefore I started to think something was wrong with me, and it just snowballed after that.”
Before last season, Crawford was billed as a top-of-the-order player, but with Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia excelling there for the Red Sox, Crawford was quickly dropped lower in the batting order.
In his two games this season, Crawford has hit second for the Red Sox, although Pedroia has not yet played with Crawford since he is on the DL with a thumb injury.
Crawford also voiced support for Valentine, a manager who has not been overly popular in Boston during his short tenure in the city.
“I know a lot of people might have problems with [Valentine], but for me I just haven’t had those problems,” Crawford told Bradford. “It’s fine with me. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but as of right now me and Bobby get along just fine.”
Crawford’s comments on Valentine are interesting for more reasons than that Crawford clearly buys into Valentine’s system. The “a lot of people might have problems” comment certainly sticks out. It is unclear who Crawford is referring to when he says “a lot of people” – teammates, the coaching staff, the media?
Regardless of Crawford’s early success and comfort with Valentine, if the team does not reflect the same attitude, all is for naught. After all, despite Crawford’s solid performance in his first two games, the Red Sox are still a fourth-place team hovering one game above .500 after the All Star Game. For a franchise that in the past few years has consistently been a strong playoff contender, fourth place is not a good place to be no matter how comfortable Crawford is.