Bobby V: Crawford probably needs at-bats

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he doesn't expect to see Carl Crawford bat against live pitching before the team breaks camp here Monday, adding that he expects the left fielder will need a minor-league rehab assignment before he rejoins the major league club.

Valentine said Crawford, who underwent surgery on his left wrist in the offseason, was limited to bunting practice on Thursday.

"I don't think it's likely,'' Valentine said of seeing Crawford hit before the team heads north next week. "You don't want to put the kid, anyone rehabbing, under the pressure of a deadline. It can never be the calendar or the schedule that says when a guy is healthy. It's not fair.''

Valentine initially said it "might be realistic" to think that Crawford would be back in a couple of weeks, but then acknowledged a rehab assignment would push that back.

"Are we going to ask him to get 50 at-bats somewhere? Probably,'' Valentine said. "You got to do the math on that one. That's 15 games. ... When you add 15 games from the time he starts playing, I think we have a target. It's not a bull's-eye.''