PAWTUCKET -- It’s been nine years since Carl Crawford last played a game at McCoy Stadium, but the Boston Red Sox left fielder will be in Pawtucket tonight and tomorrow for a brief injury rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Crawford will start in left on both nights when the PawSox host the Durham Bulls, and if all goes well this weekend, he is expected to be back in the Red Sox’s lineup on Monday when they head to Baltimore to face the Orioles.
Crawford, who signed a seven-year contract with the Red Sox as a free agent last December, landed on the disabled list on June 18 with a left hamstring strain. He suffered the injury while beating out an infield hit the previous day in a game at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Crawford, who endured a horrid April offensively, is hitting .243 in 67 games for Boston with 11 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 31 runs batted in, and eight stolen bases. He was batting .316 with four homers and 17 RBIs in his last 21 games prior to his injury.
While the Red Sox begin a three-game series tonight in St. Petersburg against Crawford’s old team, the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford and the PawSox will be playing against the last minor league team he suited up for in 2002.
Crawford, who turns 30 on Aug. 5, hit .297 in 85 games with 26 stolen bases for the Bulls before getting called up to Tampa Bay on July 20. In eight-plus seasons with Tampa Bay, Crawford was a four-time All-Star who batted .296 and collected 1,480 hits, 105 triples, and 409 stolen bases.
PawSox shortstop Jose Iglesias continued his comeback from a concussion he suffered 11 days ago by passing his first battery of tests in the afternoon.
The 21-year-old prospect was sent to the seven-day disabled list after he was plunked in the helmet by a fastball by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees pitcher Andrew Brackman during a July 3 game.
“I think he did OK on it, which if he did, means he can do something, like jog or walk,” said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. “Once he does that, he has to take the test again, and then he can do a little bit more. As long as he doesn’t regress, we can keep adding on.”
Iglesias, who Beyeler added is probably a week or so away from getting back on the field, is batting .227 in 64 games with the PawSox. Iglesias also had a brief callup with Boston in May and went 0-for-4 with two runs scored in six games.
The PawSox welcomed back three players before the game to reach their 24-player limit, reliever Scott Atchinson, southpaw starter Felix Doubront, and second baseman/outfielder Tony Thomas.
Atchinson, who is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 19 appearances for Pawtucket, was optioned from Boston on Sunday when the Red Sox brought up Kyle Weiland for his big-league debut. The 35-year-old veteran had been promoted to the Red Sox four different times and has a 4.70 ERA in nine games with them.
Doubront was transferred to Double-A Portland last weekend to squeeze in a start on Monday with the Sea Dogs. He picked up the win by striking out nine batters and allowing four hits, no walks, and a run in a 9-5 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Doubront, who battled an elbow injury in spring training and a groin injury in May, is 1-3 with a 3.38 in 12 starts with the PawSox. He will take the hill in Saturday’s 6:05 p.m. game against the Bulls.
Thomas was back in the lineup in last night’s series opener with the Bulls as the designated hitter after being on the disabled list since July 3 with a left shoulder strain. A third-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2007 draft, he is batting .224 with seven homers and 29 RBIs in 57 games.