Cherington: Crawford 'plan' fluid

BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington offered up some clarification Tuesday to what at times has been a puzzling situation surrounding left fielder Carl Crawford.

Speaking with reporters after the non-waiver trade deadline, Cherington said Crawford is not necessarily on a "four-day plan," as manager Bobby Valentine indicated this past weekend in New York. According to Valentine, the training staff had told him that Crawford, who recently returned from an elbow injury and eventually may need surgery, was not to play more than four days in a row.

Crawford's situation is much more fluid than that, according to Cherington.

"When that was going on in New York this weekend, I had a chance to talk to Bobby and Carl and the medical staff and the facts are Carl is coming off an elbow injury, coming off a rehab, working really hard to get back, so he could be activated as soon as possible," Cherington said. "Perhaps in a perfect world we would have taken longer, but he wanted to play and we wanted to get him out there to try to get all our horses out there.

"Mostly because of that we wanted to get him out there as soon as we could, and we talked about the benefit potentially of a day off here and there in the early part of his activation to kind of get him through the first few weeks and manage that.

"And so, that was the conversation. Bobby's given him a couple days off now. He may continue to do that. That's up to him. But I think after the conversations that we've had, I think everyone understands the plan moving forward. It's just something we've got to manage and Carl has toughed it out and wants to play, and every once in a while we'll give him a day so we can do this."

Valentine offered an odd take on the situation while in the Bronx. After Crawford was kept out of the lineup on Saturday, Valentine told reporters that the training staff had instructed him not to play him more than four days in a row. Crawford already had a stint where he played six straight games, so the explanation was baffling.

Valentine even made a comment that he had done a "manager no-no thing" by going against orders. So were there orders in place? If there were, Cherington is giving no indication they are in place anymore.

"We're just keeping an eye on it," he said. "We want to listen to what he says day to day and we just want to make the off days count and make sense and come at the right time. And so I think we prefer not to put a specific number of days on it.

"I think when Bobby mentioned the four days, there had been talk when Carl was first activated about an off-day at some point soon after the initial activation, and at one point I remember talking about maybe three or four days from now we give him a day and so that number was used. But after talking about it more this weekend, I just think it's going to be more of a feel thing, see how Carl is doing. Occasionally he may get a day to help him get through this initial phase."

Crawford said Saturday he was "embarrassed" by the situation. He started Sunday in New York and again Monday in the opener of a 10-game homestand, going 2 for 6 with a triple and a walk in those two games. The speedster was in the lineup, batting second, again Tuesday against Detroit ace Justin Verlander.

In addressing other topics, Cherington said the organization "poorly interpreted" the rule surrounding how many in-game coaches a team can have in its dugout, the rule that recently has banished assistant pitching coach Randy Niemann to the clubhouse during games.

"It was something that we had wanted to do, Bobby wanted to do, we felt that we could do and then we were told we couldn't do it," Cherington said. "So we stopped doing it."

Cherington said he did not know if another team had complained to the league, which bumped Niemann from the dugout earlier this month.

With so many names swirling around at the trade deadline, including many involving the new-look Red Sox bullpen, it is easy to forget about Daniel Bard. Cherington has not, and still sees Bard as a contributor later in the year.

"He's one of the guys we know can help us and we expect to help us. There's no specific timetable on that, but he's one of the number of guys in Pawtucket we think can come up and help us the rest of the year," Cherington said.

Bard has struggled mightily while trying to rediscover his form since being sent to the PawSox on June 6. However, he has thrown five scoreless innings over his last five appearances.

Tony Lee is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.