Former Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, traded to Los Angeles in a blockbuster on Aug. 25 (one day after he'd undergone Tommy John surgery), was introduced as a member of the Dodgers at a press conference on Friday. Crawford told reporters that he looked forward to getting a "second chance" and a fresh start with a new team, while acknowledging his disappointment at how things unfolded in Boston in teh first two seasons after he signed a seven-year, $142 million contract.
"If somebody wants to trade you, to get rid of you, it's time to move on," Crawford told reporters, explaining why he waived his no-trade clause. "Things didn't go as planned in Boston. I'm happy for a new start. I just didn't play well enough there, for whatever reason. It just didn't work. I didn't do my part."
Crawford suggested that, in retrospect, it was a mistake not to get Tommy John surgery done earlier. The outfielder missed all of the first half of the season, first while recovering from a wrist injury, then while trying to rehab from a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow that ultimately resulted in the season-ending operation on Aug. 24. He suggested that he felt obligated to try to play given his landmark contract.
"I tried to push through with the Boston fans," he told reporters. "A big deal is made about the money and I wanted to play for them. Maybe I should have taken care of myself. I felt pressure from the outside to play, in that atmosphere. You have surgery and you get looked at like you're being soft or try to take the money. I wanted to prove that wasn't the case and it probably cost me time from next year. It's one of the things I definitely learned from."
In two years with the Sox, he hit .260/.292/.419/.711, including .282 with a .306 OBP, .479 slugging mark and .785 OPS in 2012. He suggested that, even though the Dodgers were motivated to make the deal chiefly by the opportunity to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, "once I start playing normally, I won't be the forgotten guy. ... I definitely have alot of baseball left in me."
That baseball will now come in Los Angeles, rather than the city where he signed to play until 2017. Given the circumstances surrounding the Sox this past year, Crawford said that he is content with his new baseball home.
"There's no secret this was a tough year in Boston. I wouldn't want any player to go through [it]," said Crawford. "To get out of that situation is definitely sort of a relief."
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