Carl Crawford happy with move

BOSTON -- Left fielder Carl Crawford said Wednesday he had no regrets about signing with the Boston Red Sox, though he admitted the thought occurred to him during last season's struggles.

"Things didn't go right for me the first year, so naturally, those thoughts creep into your head when you're doing bad," Crawford told the Boston Herald.

"If I had a good season, those thoughts don't creep up. But I'm a person (who) once I make a decision, that's it. And at the end of the day, if I had to do it all over again, I think I'd make the same decision."

Crawford is off to a flying start in his first three games this season, with five hits in his first 10 at-bats and six runs scored in 12 plate appearances. It took him 23 games to score six runs last season and 47 games before he had his first three-hit game, which is something he accomplished his second game in 2012.

Crawford recently told WEEI.com that he still resents being dropped from second to seventh in the batting order after just two games last season by then-manager Terry Francona. He said he used that as motivation for his fast start this season.

"I understand Boston. I'll remember that for the rest of my career, and going through that bad thing has probably helped me make sure I'm prepared," said Crawford, referring to being dropped in the order after two games. "I don't know who could be prepared for the first two games. You could be prepared for the first two games and still go 0-fer, and over here you would get dropped in the lineup for that. Anywhere else they just know it as the first two games. You just have to be prepared and lucky, and (Monday) I was both."

What goes unsaid by Crawford is that Francona was trying to alleviate some pressure in that third game after watching his new left fielder strike out three times in the season opener and a fourth time in the second game. Francona was giving Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million contract before last season, a break against left-hander Matt Harrison by moving him down. The strategy produced results, with Crawford collecting his first two hits of the season and driving in a run.

The next game, Crawford was restored to the No. 2 spot and batted either second or first during the next 10 games. During that stretch, he batted .114 (5 for 44), with just three runs scored and one extra-base hit in 46 plate appearances. With the team 4-10 at that point, Francona shook up the lineup, dropping Crawford to the lower third of the order, where he remained for most of the season.

The decision hardly could have been one to make, given the investment the team had made in the left fielder, the way he had been billed as a "game-changer," and the embarrassment it created for the front office, with then-general manager Theo Epstein surely signing off on Francona's decision.

This is not the first time Crawford has taken a shot at Francona, now an ESPN baseball analyst. In spring training, when asked by WEEI.com about the way current manager Bobby Valentine was running spring training compared to last season's under Francona, Crawford said: "We didn't do anything (last spring). How could I get tired?''