Gonzalez improving; Crawford set for debut

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez continues to increase his cage work. He took 25 swings off a tee and then added 35 swings on balls tossed at him today.

“He’ll continue to build up, and as he continues to feel good, there will probably be a day every so often he’ll take a down day to [regenerate],” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He feels pretty comfortable. It’s going well.”

Gonzalez had surgery on his right shoulder to repair his labrum last October. There’s still no timetable when he’ll be cleared to play in spring games, but he’s expecting to be ready in time for Opening Day.

* Outfielder Carl Crawford will make his spring debut for the Red Sox this afternoon against the Twins. Francona grabbed him earlier today and told him: “I [expletive] hated you [in Tampa Bay]. Now I love you.”

Crawford is playing left field and will bat third.

“There’s not much to not get excited about,” Francona said.

* Francona didn’t put much stock into reading too much into today’s starting lineup -- Jacoby Ellsbury leading off, followed by Dustin Pedroia and Crawford -- as a possible preview of how he was leaning for Opening Day.

“I don’t know what the lineup is today,” Francona said, before adding “Obviously this is a possibility.”

* Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks will throw live batting practice today for the second time this spring.