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BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford spent the first nine seasons of his major league career in a Tampa Bay uniform.
He watched the team transform into perenial cellar-dwellers to American League champs, from the Devil Rays into just the Rays. He wreaked havoc on the basepaths against the Red Sox (and many others) in a Tampa uniform. But doing the same against his former team could be a little more difficult.
“They know me and I’m pretty sure they have a plan against me,” Crawford said. “I know some things against them so, whatever I know I’m just going to try and use it to my advantage. They’re going to try to do the same.”
“It’s going to be fine,” Crawford added about playing his former teammates. “I had a chance this spring to do that. Playing in the regular season, we’ll see how that goes. It should be fun.”
Crawford has struggled in his first nine games with the Red Sox, batting .132 with just one RBI. He is just 1-for-15 in Fenway with a pair of 0-for-5 showings against the New York Yankees over the weekend. Still, he sees light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m not really that disappointed because I know it’s just the beginning,” Crawford, who will bat lead-off Monday night, said of his slow start.
The career .295 hitter is happy to be hitting the ball hard the last few games. Unfortunately the ball has not been finding the holes, instead heading right to the defense.
“I didn’t think I was pressing to hit the ball, I just got to hit that hole,” the speedy outfielder said. “Things haven’t been going my way but I just have to keep playing.”
Crawford is confident that both his play, and the teams, will turn around. Taking two of three games against the Yankees is just one sign of what the Red Sox are capable of doing.
“It was good to beat the Yankees twice like that,” he said. “It gives us the confidence to know we can beat good teams.”
At 2-7, the Red Sox are far off pace for the 100-win season some predicted. The Rays are just 1-8, ranking last in the majors in both runs scored and team batting average.
“I’m surprised about that, we definitely didn’t see that coming,” Crawford said of both team’s struggles. “It’s just funny the way things worked out.”
In addition to playing in front of sell out crowds every night, Crawford also has a new manager to learn in Terry Francona. Tito is much different from his old manager Joe Maddon in Tampa in their approach both on the field and off.
How different they are, Crawford would not say.
“I don’t know how to answer that without starting some kind of controversy, so I’m just going to pass on that,” he joked.