Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday he wouldn't be surprised if left fielder Carl Crawford missed the first few weeks of the regular season as he continues to recover from wrist surgery.
"I wouldn't be surprised nor disappointed if that's what nature dictates as his healing process," Valentine told The Boston Globe in his first public comments from the team's spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
Valentine added that Crawford, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist in mid-January after reporting some soreness, can do everything except hit at this point in his recovery.
"When he's ready and he's healed, he is going to be a welcome addition to our team, whenever that is," Valentine said, according to the Globe. "The more I've looked at Carl on film and tried to evaluate the whole thing, he's really special and we really need him. If it's later, then that's when it will be."
At the time of the surgery, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the team would not place a timetable on Crawford's return, other than to say they expect him back "early in the season."
Crawford struggled in his first season in Boston after signing a seven-year, $142 million contract last offseason. He hit a career-low .255 with 11 homers, 56 RBIs and just 18 stolen bases.