NEW YORK -- In explaining Carl Crawford's absence from the lineup Saturday afternoon, manager Bobby Valentine said the team training staff has advised that Crawford not play more than four days in a row as a "preventative'' measure with Crawford's ailing elbow.
When it was noted that Crawford played six games in a row immediately after he was activated, Valentine smiled and said: "I did a manager no-no thing -- I went against what I was told to do never to be done again. They told me before that game that he wasn't playing and I did the old veto power.
You know, 'Who says he's not playing?' And I played him.''
Continued Valentine: "I'm learning. I'm figuring out what it is -- preventative and building up. We're preventing, in the early going, that he doesn't overuse his elbow and we're building up tolerance as we go. I don't think it's going to be four days and a day off all year. I hope not. We're building to a point to get beyond that. But that's the program I've been
"He doesn't get to a breaking point. He just gets to a point where it could lead to a problem and we're trying to be smart with it.''
Meanwhile, for his part, Crawford said it was somewhat "embarrassing'' to be out of the lineup, and hinted that it might be better to undergo Tommy John surgery on the elbow now, which he views as inevitable.
''That's what the doctor told me'' said Crawford. "I try not to even think about it, to be honest with you. I go out there and play and try not to think about it. I figure one day it'll blow out and when that happens, it's time to go.''
Boston Red Sox
Crawford again hinted that he would prefer to have the surgery now.
"The later I wait to get it done,'' said Crawford, "the more time I'll miss, so I guess you guys can do the calculation on that and see how that works. But I definitely know at some point in my career, I can't keep playing with this ligament in my elbow.''
Crawford said he's been told that recovery time for a position player is shorter than it is for a pitcher and estimated he would miss "five-to-six months . . . somewhere in that area.''
The Sox head into Saturday's game 11 12 back of first-place New York and five games out in the loss column for the second wild card spot. Asked if it might be prudent to get the surgery if the team completely out of contention, Crawford said: "Yeah, that would smart thing if we're out of it.
We definitely want to take care of it as soon as possible. We'll have to wait and see. That's why I tried to get back so quick and help the team.
"If we're still in it, I want to do that. But if not, you probably have to look into (having the surgery done).''
Crawford also revealed that he didn't know of the team's plan to rest him after four games played until Saturday morning.
"My understanding is I've got today off,'' said Crawford. "The medical people want me to get rest. I'm not really sure what's the program on it. I guess that's the way it is right now.''
Asked if he felt capable of playing Saturday, Crawford said: "Oh yeah. I came here ready to play, like I always do. I found out this morning that I wasn't playing. So that's it, pretty much. Could I play? Yeah, I could play today. But like I say, I'm following that method right there and just going along with how things are.''
"It's frustrating to be out of the lineup. But at the end of the day, you have to go along with the way things are.''
But Crawford acknowledges that the left elbow "hurts every day. I just play through with it and try to deal with the pain that I've gotten used to playing with.''
Noting that the Sox had a break in the schedule Thursday after the series in Texas, Crawford cryptically noted: "I think we just had an off-day, didn't we?. You have to just go with it. You don't always agree, but you have to go with the way things are sometimes.''
"He has a four-day program,'' explained Valentine. "I figure it's better for him to play the next four days then play this game and three after this -- considering they're all righthanders after today.''
Crawford has hit well against Yankee starter CC Sabathia in the past (22-for-69, .319) making the decision that much tougher.
"And playing in Yankee Stadium...short right-field fence, yeah,'' said Valentine. "Those are tough decisions. That's why I get paid the big bucks.''
"I'd like to have Carl everyday; I'd like to have all my good players everyday. But I understand the situation better now than I did then.
Crawford expressed worry that sitting out against a top pitcher like Sabathia "makes it look like I'm hiding from somebody, not playing against him. It's more embarrassing than anything.''