MINNEAPOLIS - Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that outfielder Carl Crawford is going to see Dr. James Andrews on “a fact-finding mission’’ to determine exactly what is wrong with his left elbow.
That examination is expected to take place before the end of the week. Crawford has been on the disabled list all season recovering from surgery on his left wrist, but his elbow became a bigger problem earlier this month.
Crawford was given an MRI in Boston and shut down from throwing in extended spring training games. But that apparently hasn’t helped.
“The only thing I heard is he hadn’t been throwing in a couple of days and then he was shagging and he picked up a ball and kind of lobbed it in,’’ Valentine said before the Sox beat the Twins, 7-6. “He still felt something. That’s what raised concern.
“Sometimes it’s that you haven’t thrown in a few days and you didn’t warm up and you weren’t expecting to throw and you throw.
“It’s not like he’s gone out and tried to throw and said, ‘I can’t throw.’ I bet if this were the seventh game of the World Series and he had to advance it in, he could advance it forward.’’
General manager Ben Cherington said the injury is more of a sprain than tendinitis. But others in the organization are concerned that it could be something worse.
“I haven’t heard any reason that there’s surgery, a surgical procedure being necessary,’’ said Valentine.
Crawford’s brief tenure with the Red Sox has been marked by injury. He was on the disabled list for a month last season with a hamstring tear. His wrist also was an issue, but it was determined that rest would solve the problem.
But when Crawford starting hitting in January, his wrist quickly became sore, and surgery was done to remove cartilage.
Sweeney, Ross are in play
With Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list, the Red Sox are using Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross in the outfield almost every day.
Sweeney, who went 1 for 4 Wednesday, is hitting .382 with 7 RBIs. Ross, who finished 1 for 3 with an RBI, is at .267 with 5 homers and 15 RBIs. “It’s been paramount,’’ Valentine said of their contributions. “It’s been a godsend.
“Not that we didn’t think they’d be good. We thought collectively they’d do what they’re doing individually. It’s been spectacular.’’
Sweeney, a bench player with Oakland last season, said it has been a relief to get off to a good start.
“When you come to a new team, you want to make a good impression right away,’’ he said. “I started feeling good right at the end of spring training and took that into the season.
“With Carl out, we both needed to play. Now with Jacoby out, it’s great that we’re able to help pick up the slack.’’
Sweeney said being part of a deep lineup has helped him. So has the confidence Valentine has shown in him.
“You get labeled as a fourth outfielder sometimes and nothing can change that,’’ said Sweeney. “I think here it was a clean slate and I was given a chance.
“I’ve been an everyday player before, so I know I can do the job.’’
Ross left the game in the sixth inning after twisting his left knee in his first at-bat, in the second inning, when he had an RBI single. “I’m not even sure how I did it, but I’m fine,’’ Ross said.
“We’re just being careful.’’
The original Red Sox lineup had Darnell McDonald playing left field, Kelly Shoppach catching, and David Ortiz hitting sixth. It seemed a little strange given that the Twins were starting a righthander.
Then bench coach Tim Bogar posted a new lineup. Sweeney was back in there, as was Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And Ortiz was hitting sixth.
“The one that was posted was for the lefthander that I thought was pitching today,’’ Valentine acknowledged with a hearty laugh.
Turns out Twins starter Liam Hendriks is righthanded. Saltalamacchia caught the mistake, and no harm was done.
Atchison does the job
The Red Sox bullpen has been in shambles. But not Scott Atchison.
The 36-year-old righthander has appeared in six games, allowing two runs on eight hits over 11 2/3 innings. He has walked two and struck out 11.
Atchison pitched two perfect innings Tuesday. Of his 26 pitches, 19 were strikes.
“I’ve liked the way Atch has thrown the ball from the first day I saw him,’’ said Valentine. “It’s not just strikes - it’s quality strikes.’’
Said Atchison, “To be honest, I’ve felt good since spring training. It was good to make the team and get the opportunities.’’
Red Sox to see Humber
The Red Sox open a four-game series in Chicago Thursday and will immediately face righthander Philip Humber, who threw a perfect game against Seattle Saturday. Humber has faced the Sox twice in his career, allowing eight runs in 12 1/3 innings. Both starts came last season . . . Wednesday was Daniel Bard’s “throw day’’ in the bullpen, and the Red Sox considered making him available for the game. But Bard rejected that idea. “We talked and figured that it was not the right thing to do,’’ Valentine said . . . Lefty reliever Rich Hill pitched a perfect inning for Triple A Pawtucket Wednesday, striking out two. It was his second game in two days and his eighth appearance on his injury rehabilitation assignment. Hill, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, could join the team this weekend. “I think he’s close,’’ said Valentine. “But that’s just from afar.’’ Hill has allowed two runs on five hits in nine innings with two walks and 18 strikeouts . . . Infielder Nate Spears, designated for assignment Monday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket . . . Valentine will manage against one of his former players for the first time Friday. Robin Ventura, who played for Valentine with the Mets from 1999-2001, manages the White Sox. Ventura’s third base coach is Joe McEwing, who also played for Valentine.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.