Crawford's elbow remains a 'concern'

MINNEAPOLIS -- After an initial burst of optimism at the start of spring training that Carl Crawford might beat all forecasts and be ready for the season opener, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine refused to be drawn into speculation on when the left fielder would return.

That's probably a good thing, given that with a week to go, Crawford is unlikely to make the more conservative estimates made by some that he would be back before May 1.

Crawford was in Boston on Tuesday, having his troublesome left elbow checked again, and it didn't do anything to quell suspicions that something was amiss when Valentine said they're still "gathering information." A routine exam would probably have produced nothing more than an "everything looks great and he's ready to start playing the field.''

Instead, Valentine acknowledged that the elbow remains a cause for concern.

"Until a guy is 100 percent, you always have concern," Valentine said.

To date, Crawford, who also had offseason wrist surgery, has taken some at-bats but has not played the field in extended spring training games, and no timetable has been set for when he can resume throwing.