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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Crawford, Bailey making progress

By Joe McDonald

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine received some positive news Wednesday afternoon when he read the daily medical updates of his rehabbing players.

Left fielder Carl Crawford (wrist/elbow) will have the “potential” to start swinging a bat when the team returns from his current road trip late next week. Also, closer Andrew Bailey (thumb) has received clearance to begin a throwing program at some point next week after he was examined Tuesday in Cleveland by the doctor who performed his surgery last month.

Both players have been on the disabled list all season and there’s no timetable for when either will be ready for action.

Crawford had surgery on his wrist last January and was hitting in the early weeks of spring training when he suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left throwing elbow. Instead of surgery, the Red Sox decided the outfielder would follow a more conservative course of treatment.

Bailey suffered a thumb injury during spring training and had surgery to repair a torn ligament in early April. He has said all along that he hopes to return at some point this season.

“Boy, he’s been working,” Valentine said. “He’s one of those guys, I’m sure we’ll have to hold him back.”

Valentine added the team also would use a conservative approach with Bailey.

HEADS-UP: Pitcher Felix Doubront, who was hit in the right ear by an errant fungo ball while he was playing catch in the outfield Tuesday morning at Fenway Park, was tested for a concussion and the results came back negative, so he’s still on schedule to start on Thursday in Tampa.

PITCHERS BEWARE: Doubront wasn’t the only Red Sox pitcher to be struck by a ball in the last couple of days. Lefty reliever Rich Hill was hit on his throwing elbow during BP on Wednesday in Tampa and was escorted off the field with a trainer. He was playing catch and put his arms up to protect his head from an oncoming ball when he was hit. He said he was fine.

LACKEY PROGRESSES: Pitcher John Lackey has been with the team for the last few days, but he will return to Fort Myers to continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery at the club’s spring training facility. The right-hander has been playing catch at 150 feet.