FORT MYERS, Fla (CBS) – When Carl Crawford signed a seven-year, $142-million deal with the Red Sox over the winter, he was leaving a team he spent his entire nine-year career with.

On Thursday, the Sox outfielder gets a chance to see his old teammates again when the Red Sox take on the Tampa Rays in Port Charlotte.

“It’ll be nice to see everyone,” Crawford told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller. “But after that we still have to play the game, it’s going to be business as usual.”

Listen To Crawford Talking About His Rays Reunion

With the Red Sox and Rays matching up 18 times this season, Crawford knew the day would come he would play his former team. He is glad to be getting the first time out-of-the-way so soon.

“It’s going to be weird being on the other side period,” Crawford said. “Being in the Red Sox uniform, I just got to get used to it. I’m glad I’m getting used to it in spring training.”

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So far this spring, Crawford is four-for-18 with an RBI and two stolen bases. He looks forward to the future with Boston, but will miss the fun times he had with the Rays.

“It was a young team, so when you have a bunch of young guys you’re going to have a lot of fun,” Crawford said of his former club. “(Manager) Joe (Madden) did a good job keeping the clubhouse loose all the time, it was always like a party everyday over there.”

Crawford said if the situation was right, he would have returned to Tampa. He said his former team has a good young core and enough pitching to be competitive in the AL East, but ultimately chose the Red Sox.

“I wanted to play with these guys, this is a special group,” he said of his new team. “I could see myself in this lineup, I envisioned myself in the lineup before actually happened. It was more so, besides the money, being on a team I could fit in, play my game, and we’re going to be winning.”

Crawford’s first regular season matchup with his former team is April 11 at Fenway Park. His first trip back to Tampa is not until June 14, when the Red Sox visit Tropicana Field for a three-game series.


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