FORT MYERS, Fla. - Manager Bobby Valentine believes left fielder Carl Crawford will miss “a few weeks’’ of the regular season as he recovers from surgery on his left wrist.
Crawford had surgery in Arizona Jan. 17 to repair cartilage damage. According to the latest reports, he will be able to do everything except swing a bat once he arrives at spring training.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Carl’s a few weeks into the season before he’s really ready,’’ Valentine said yesterday. “I wouldn’t be surprised nor disappointed if that’s what nature dictates is his healing process.
“When he’s ready and he’s healed, he is going to be a welcome addition to our team, whenever that is. The more I’ve looked at Carl on film and tried to evaluate the whole thing, he’s really special and we really need him. If it’s later, then that’s when it will be.’’
Crawford had a disappointing first season with the Sox, hitting .255 with a .289 on-base percentage, 11 home runs, and 18 stolen bases. While he is out, two starting outfield spots are available. Candidates include Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, and Darnell McDonald.
Pitchers and catchers officially report Sunday, and nothing has changed regarding veteran free agents Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek. “I would say the clock is really close to the witching hour,’’ Valentine said. “Every day we’re making out daily programs, and it’s hard to do unless we know the numbers, the faces, and the names.’’ Wakefield has been with the Red Sox for 19 seasons and Varitek for 15 . . . Pitching coach Bob McClure said all but four or five pitchers have arrived in camp. No players have informed Valentine that they will be late. That includes righthander Vicente Padilla, who has been dealing with some legal issues in his native Nicaragua. “The only time I didn’t have someone late because of a visa was in Japan,’’ Valentine said. “Someone’s usually late and it’s a big deal until a day after he shows up and he’s not late anymore.’’
Lots on Fox
Fox has picked up seven Saturday Red Sox games: April 7 at Detroit, April 21 vs. the Yankees, May 19 at Philadelphia, June 16 at the Cubs, July 7 vs. the Yankees, July 28 at the Yankees, and Aug. 18 at the Yankees . . . Reliever Matt Albers, for what it’s worth, appears to have dropped some weight . . . Lefthander Andrew Miller was wearing an elastic support sock on his left leg . . . Sweeney is one of the position players who arrived early . . . The Red Sox are one of many teams interested in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, a righthanded power hitter who is expected to become a free agent soon.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.