Carl Crawford on track to start rehab

BOSTON -- Injured Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford remains on track to begin rehab games with the organization's Gulf Coast League affiliate in Florida on Saturday, but manager Bobby Valentine knows it will be a careful road back.

Valentine said Friday that Crawford will require a rehab stint similar in activity to spring training "at least." That means about 45 at-bats, which based on the Gulf Coast League schedule could have Crawford back at Fenway Park in a month "or 20 days."

"His health will determine a lot of his progress," Valentine said. "But then again, it's also baseball. He has to feel good about playing baseball. That's what spring training is usually for."

It begins for Crawford, who is recovering from a left elbow injury, at 10 a.m. Saturday with a game against the Twins' affiliate. Crawford likely will serve as the designated hitter, play the outfield in a second game Monday (Sunday is a day off for the team) and then DH again Tuesday, but that schedule remains up in the air.

"It all depends on how the elbow feels," Valentine said.

The other star outfielder on the disabled list, Jacoby Ellsbury, was out running in the sun-scorched outfield at Fenway on Friday. He has been making consistent progress in his return from a right shoulder subluxation, but Valentine was succinct when asked if there were any updates on Ellsbury.

"No," he said, and that was all.

Valentine said earlier in the week that Ellsbury was "close to game activities."

Tony Lee is a regular contributor to ESPNBoston.com.