MLB

Crawford surgery decision nears

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NEW YORK (AP)

Carl Crawford appears to be headed for season-ending surgery on his left elbow.

The Boston Red Sox said Sunday they planned to meet and decide the following day whether the left fielder will have Tommy John surgery. Citing an anonymous source, ESPN reported hours later that Crawford is expected to have the operation Tuesday.

Crawford has been playing with pain since coming off the disabled list last month. He has said he's been told he will need Tommy John surgery at some point to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.

"Carl's given it everything he has. From everything I gather, the elbow situation is kind of trending in the wrong way," manager Bobby Valentine said Sunday night after a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees.

Crawford went 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning single, perhaps his final at-bat of the year. The Red Sox are off Monday. 

''We'll take that time to talk with Carl and the doctors and kind of get to the bottom of this entire situation,'' manager Bobby Valentine said before the game.

Asked if the discussion would be about whether Crawford needs surgery at all or simply when he should have it, general manager Ben Cherington said: ''A little of both.''

If he has the ligament-replacement surgery, it's estimated Crawford could return to the lineup six to nine months later. The fourth-place Red Sox began the day 59-62, leaving them 12½ games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East and 6½ out in the wild-card race.

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

''We've known surgery is a possibility if the symptoms didn't go away,'' the first-year GM added. ''These conversations have been going on for months now. We know what the issue is.''

OUCH!

Who's in and who's out? Check the complete MLB disabled list.

Crawford was a major disappointment last season, his first with Boston after signing a $142 million, seven-year contract. He missed the first 89 games of this season while recovering from left wrist surgery.

He partially tore his elbow ligament in April while rehabbing, slowing his return. Crawford was activated from the disabled list July 16 and was batting .283 with three homers and 19 RBIs going into Sunday night's game. He had 13 extra-base hits in August, tied with teammate Adrian Gonzalez for the most in the majors.

''He's played a lot and he's got a real injury,'' Cherington said. ''He's played well. To his credit, he's played through this for the team.''

Crawford batted second and played left field Sunday night against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.

"He's probably undergoing surgery, right? It's not good. But you've got to do what you've got to do to be ready next year," injured teammate David Ortiz said. "You've got to take care of yourself. If you are injured, you're injured. Nobody gets Tommy John (surgery) because it's fun. Tommy John (surgery) is a tough process and he needs one because he needs one. If I'm him, I would do exactly what he's doing, taking care of it."

Notes

RHP John Lackey, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, threw 45 pitches in the bullpen. ''I was very impressed with what I saw,'' said Valentine, who did not rule out the possibility of Lackey pitching in the majors this season. Cherington said he fully expects Lackey will pitch in a ''competitive environment'' before the season ends, but that doesn't necessarily mean a big league game. ... Cherington said demoted RHP Daniel Bard will be back in the big leagues this year and the team will talk in the offseason about whether he should be used as a starter or reliever going forward. ... Minor league pitcher Brian Johnson was released from the hospital and Cherington said the left-hander was doing well after he was hit in the face with a line drive Saturday during the Future Games at Fenway Park. Johnson, a first-round draft pick in June, sustained multiple orbital bone fractures on the left side of his face, but there were no signs of a concussion.

Tagged: Red Sox, Yankees, John Lackey, Carl Crawford

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