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Red Sox hope more time in Triple A will help Kutter Crawford’s development

Kutter Crawford was sent down to Triple A.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

ARLINGTON, Texas — Kutter Crawford’s first real stint in the majors didn’t go as planned. The Red Sox activated Rich Hill off the COVID-related injured list prior to Saturday’s 11-3 win over the Rangers and optioned Crawford to Triple A Worcester.

Hill pitched six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and striking out four.

“It wasn’t easy to get [Crawford] innings,” manager Alex Cora said. “And, obviously, you see the games that we have played all season. They have been close games. I do believe for now and the future it was the best move.”

The Red Sox were encouraged by Crawford’s stuff coming out of spring training and their goal was to use him in multiple innings of relief. But Crawford struggled, posting an 8.44 ERA in 10⅔ innings of work. Crawford had command issues, as well, walking eight batters. In an April 18 appearance against the Twins, Crawford walked five.

“I think out of character were the walks,” Cora said. “This kid has been a strike thrower his whole career. That’s what everyone was talking about in spring training.”

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The move allows Crawford to get reps in Triple A which the Sox believe is most important to his development.

“Getting an opportunity to get regular reps is important,” said Ben Crockett, the team’s vice president of player development. “We are still continuing to develop him. And I think giving opportunity to get stretched out and get a regular opportunity to throw all of his pitches and hone in on the strike zone [is important].”

Hill’s quarantine

Hill got in some work in during his COVID quarantine, but nothing too fancy. He had a net at his house that he threw into. He would go out to vacant fields near his home and throw. Just him and a ball.

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“It probably looked crazy,” Hill said after the game. “But I was staying ready.”

Once Hill was cleared to return to action, he threw a bullpen at Fenway to a catcher from Babson College.

It paid off.

Hill, 42, is the oldest Red Sox lefthander to get a win since David Wells against Detroit at 43 on Aug. 16, 2006.

Kevin Millar in the booth

Kevin Millar, a member of the Red Sox’ 2004 World Series championship team, is in the NESN broadcast booth as the color analyst for the series, joining Dave O’Brien.

Millar hosts Intentional Talk on MLB Network, but acknowledged the broadcast booth is a different formula.

“Dave O’Brien does such a great job,” Millar said. “So you need somebody good like that to help you because it’s still nerve-racking to know the process and you’re doing some reads. You’re jumping in and out and want to not tell stories with two outs. I’ll start talking.”

Millar is long-winded, and he said having someone like O’Brien by his side, telling him when to “shut up” is helpful. Millar has enjoyed the experience, even joking with Cora that he has to join the team for their next road series because they won Friday. The experience for Millar is particularly special because it’s the Red Sox.

“The Red Sox are like a family,” Millar said. “Over the years, it’s about relationships, but then again it’s the Red Sox, and I was like, ‘Man, oh, man I want to try it.’ ”

Alex Verdugo sits with foot contusion

Alex Verdugo (right foot contusion) was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his foot Friday. Verdugo tested the foot Saturday, sprinting once on the field, but ultimately the team decided the best decision would be for him to sit. Franchy Cordero (2 for 4, RBI) got the start in left field in place of Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec (2 for 5, RBI) started at first … The Sox will have a bullpen game Sunday. Cora said Austin Davis will start and could go multiple innings … Top prospect Marcelo Mayer (right wrist soreness) missed his fourth consecutive game for Low A Salem. He’s expected to play Sunday … Worcester outfielder Jaylin Davis was designated for assignment.

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Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.