It didn’t take long for Carl Crawford’s first season with Boston to get ugly. After inking a massive contract that highlighted a huge offseason for the Red Sox last year, Crawford brought virtually nothing to the table. It was no secret that he lost confidence as the season went on, but it may come as a surprise to some people to hear that Crawford did not feel that Terry Francona had his back.
“I didn’t feel like I had the manager’s confidence,” Crawford told Rob Bradford of WEEI during a recent interview. “I don’t know about the organization, but I don’t try and look past the manager, so I feel like I didn’t have the manager’s confidence, therefore I started to think something was wrong with me, and it just snowballed after that. It had a trickle-down effect, and it just got worse and worse as the days went by.”
Francona has always been known as a player’s manager. By dropping Crawford down in the lineup for most of the season, he was probably trying to take pressure off of him and allow him to get back on track. Apparently Carl did not see it that way. Considering Red Sox owner John Henry basically admitted he didn’t want to sign Crawford, it’s interesting to hear the outfielder talk about his former manager that way.
As for the current situation, many wondered if Bobby Valentine and Crawford would be a bad mix. When he worked as an analyst for ESPN, Valentine criticized Crawford’s batting stance and said he had too much going on at the plate. However, he inserted Crawford into the No. 2 spot in the Red Sox lineup immediately upon his return.
“It’s like a natural thing for me,” Crawford said. “I knew I better do something quick. Last year I got knocked out after two games, so right now I’m always on the defense when it comes to that. I know I don’t have that much time, so I have to do something quick.”
It’s worth noting that Dustin Pedroia is currently sidelined with a thumb injury, so Valentine had a much easier decision than Francona in hitting Crawford second. As far as Boston fans are concerned, Crawford can look at the situation any way he pleases if it results in production. The last thing the team needs is another Kevin Youkilis situation.
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