Carl Crawford apologizes to Rays for unintentional slight
Eventually, he has to learn how to play the Green Monster, But Carl Crawford began his Boston Red Sox career by attemping to mend fences in Tampa Bay.
Crawford, responding to a question from a Tampa Bay reporter, apologized to the Rays Friday for failing to make mention of his former team at his introductory news conference in Boston last December.
Crawford said at the time, he was suffering from a sore throat and struggling to speak. He said he hopes the omission isn't a sore spot with the Rays players, fans or front office.
"My throat was hurting so bad and I tried to limit myself to as few words as possible," Crawford said upon reporting to spring training with the Red Sox Friday. "If I made a few people upset, I'm sorry about it. Everybody knew I loved Tampa when I was there. I had a good time there. It's just at the press conference, I was overwhelmed by cameras and I'd never been in this kind of situation before and it just kind of slipped my mind. So to the people in Tampa and the front office, I apologize and I'm sorry about that."
Crawford, who signed a 7-year, $142-million contract with the Red Sox, said Friday he has no bitter feelings towards the Rays for their inability to keep him in Tampa Bay.
"I understand everything,'' Crawford said. "I understand the economics weren't there for those guys. Like I said, we knew at the beginning of the year that I wasn't going to be there again and it was a mutual agreement, so there weren't any hard feelings or nothing like that. It was just something that had to happen."
Crawford said he's looking forward to playing his former Rays team this season.
"It's going to be fun, Crawford said. "We're going to have a lot of fun. It's going to be highly competitive because I know they're going to try to beat us and get me out. I'n going to be trying to do the same, so it's going to be some interesting games, I think."
While Crawford was not receptive to batting leadoff for the Rays, he indicated he would be willing to do it for the Red Sox.
"I think it was when Lou (Pinella) came to me and said, 'this is just not who you are,' Crawford said. "I put a lot of faith in his judgement. I thought a lot about what he was talking about. Once he kind of realized that wasn't the spot for me at the time, I figured that's probably not the spot for me."
As for his contract, the second-highest in Red Sox history, Crawford said he never imagined he would earn that much having never hit 20 home runs in his career
"I never imagined I would command this kind of contract because I never hit 20 home runs, Crawford said. "I was always looked as a speed guy and I knew speed guys weren't really looked as fondly upon as a hone run hitter. But I figured if I could add the speed and do everything else at a high level, just maybe I had a chance to be just as valuable. That's what happened. I knew I wasn't going to hit a lot of home runs in my career so I just tried to be the best at the little things ad I could be and it worked out for me."
-- RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer