BOSTON -- Prior to Tuesday night's game against the Tigers, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington clarified the team's plan for monitoring the health of outfielder Carl Crawford.
Contrary to what manager Bobby Valentine alluded to during last weekend's series in New York, Crawford will not have a medically mandated day off once every five games.
Valentine found himself in the midst of some controversy on Saturday, when he benched Crawford the day after he hit his first homer of the season. The manager said it was because of the medical staff's insistence that the left fielder play no more than four games in a row.
However, Valentine, in the same news conference, admitted he did not abide by those rules when Crawford first returned from elbow and wrist injuries after the All-Star break and instead started the outfielder in six straight games.
On Tuesday, Cherington weighed in on the latest drama surrounding the club, suggesting there may have been some misinterpretation of how best to manage Crawford's health.
"Yeah, you know, when that was going on in New York this weekend, I had a chance to talk to Bobby and Carl and the medical staff," Cherington said. "And the facts are that Carl is coming off an elbow injury and coming off a rehab and was working really hard to get back so he could be activated as soon as possible.
"Perhaps in a perfect world, we would've taken longer, but he wanted to play, and we wanted to get him out there trying to get all our horses out there and so mostly because of that we kind of wanted to get him back out there as soon as we could. 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."
The Sox want to be careful with Crawford, who has a balky elbow that could require Tommy John surgery after the season. So how will the club monitor his health over the final two months of the season?
"Bobby's given him a couple days off, and he may continue to do that," Cherington said. "That's up to him, but I think after the conversations that we've had, I think everyone understands the plan moving forward. Just something we got to manage and keep an eye on, and Carl's toughing it out and wants to play. Every once in a while, maybe we'll give him a day so he can get through this."
In other words, there won't be a hard-and-fast rule for how often Crawford needs a day off.
"No, we're just keeping an eye on it. We're going to listen to what he says day to day, we just want to ... we want to make the off-days count and make sense and come at the right time," said Cherington, in his first year as Boston's GM.
"So, I think we'd 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, we had talked about, at one point I remember talking about maybe three or four days from now we can give him a day. That number was used but after talking about it more this weekend, I think it's just going to be more of a feel thing, see how Carl is doing. Occasionally he may get a day just to sort of help him get it through this initial phase."
Crawford was in the lineup Tuesday against Detroit playing left field and batting second. He entered the game hitting .238 with one home run, three RBIs and nine runs in 12 games since making his season debut on July 16.
Sweeney lands on DL; Kalish called up from PawSox
BOSTON -- Ryan Sweeney could miss up to eight weeks with a fractured knuckle on his left pinkie finger, the result of punching a door during Monday's 7-3 win over the Tigers.
The outfielder had an operation on his left hand on Tuesday. He injured his throwing hand when he smashed it against a door between the dugout and Red Sox's clubhouse after grounding out in the eighth inning to end a 0-for-4 night.
The club placed Sweeney on the disabled list before Tuesday's game against Detroit and recalled outfielder Ryan Kalish from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Will Sweeney be able to return before the end of the regular season?
"It's going to be close from what I gather," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He'll be out for a while."
Sweeney is not the first player to take out his frustration on an object off the field, though Valentine was disappointed in the result.
"Boys will be boys and the door that he happened to hit is dented, so it wasn't the first time, and he just must have went at it in the wrong direction. It has multiple whacks to it," Valentine said.
The manager was asked if he talked to his players about controlling their emotions to avoid an injury of this nature.
"I don't think I ever had a specific meeting about it," Valentine said. "It probably falls under the category of knowing the difference between right and wrong and check in the right at the door and leave the wrong behind you."
General manager Ben Cherington was also dismayed by Sweeney's actions, though he hadn't spoken to the outfielder as of Tuesday.
"Disappointing in how it happened," Cherington said. "I know Ryan feels badly about it. Ryan's been a good teammate and a good guy in the clubhouse. He's played hard all year and played through some injuries early in the year when we needed him to. I don't want to make more out of it than what it is, which is a mistake. Until I get a chance to talk to him about it, I don't want to say more than that."
Sweeney is hitting .260 with no home runs and 16 RBIs in 63 games this season. It is his third trip to the DL. He missed six games with a concussion in late May and 18 games with left big toe inflammation after going on the DL June 16.
Kalish is back in Boston for the second time this year. He hit .217 with no home runs and five RBIs in 18 games when Sweeney was on the DL for the second time.
"I'm ready to play, ready to help the team and get us some wins," said Kalish, who hit .307 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 17 games for Pawtucket. "I slept last night, which I didn't do the last time I came up. I'm here to take care of business and prove to everyone that I can stick here."
Ortiz still limping, possibly could return this weekend
BOSTON -- David Ortiz won't be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday because the Red Sox slugger still has pain in his strained right Achilles tendon and can't run.
"No, it's not going to be tomorrow. I'm still limping a little bit when I walk, so I got to be pain-free first before I start running," Ortiz said before Tuesday's game against Detroit.
Ortiz took batting practice on the field at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon, but he won't be cleared to play until he can run without pain. He still feels discomfort in his right foot, which he injured July 16 while rounding the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez home run.
"Not like I used to, but there's still pain. That's why I'm still limping," Ortiz said.
The designated hitter will try to return to action by the weekend when the Red Sox host the Twins, his former team.
"Hopefully, we'll see once the pain goes away," said Ortiz, who leads the club with a .316 average, 23 home runs, .414 on-base percentage and .609 slugging percentage.
Tuesday marked the 14th game Ortiz has missed since the injury.
Atchison likely needs Tommy John surgery
BOSTON -- For a while, Scott Atchison was one of the feel-good stories of the Red Sox's season. Now it appears his season could be over.
The righty reliever has an injured UCL in his right elbow, which means there is a strong chance he will need Tommy John surgery.
Manager Bobby Valentine said the finding of Boston's medical staff was that Atchison had a torn UCL.
"Atch is getting another opinion," Valentine said.
A journeyman reliever for most of his career, Atchison became a force for Boston this season, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games.
Atchison last pitched for the Red Sox on July 13. The club had hoped his injury was just a right forearm strain. But after opening his Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, Atchison not only was hit hard, but he didn't feel healthy.
That was the last time Atchison pitched. He underwent an MRI on Monday.
"As everyone knows, he had a little elbow soreness recently, we shut him down, we thought he was progressing pretty well, he went to make that rehab outing and felt it the next day really," said general manager Ben Cherington. "We had another MRI done, and it showed an injury to the UCL. He's going to get a second opinion, and we'll go from there."
With Atchison out of the mix and Matt Albers traded to the D-backs for lefty Craig Breslow, the Red Sox hope to get Daniel Bard back from Triple-A Pawtucket at some point in the near future.
"He's one of the guys that we know can help us and expect to help us," said Cherington. "There's no specific timetable on that."
Right-hander Andrew Bailey is also set to start a Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday, so he should be a factor in two to three weeks.
Shortstop Mike Aviles was out of the lineup for the third straight game Tuesday, the result of turf toe. He had an MRI on Tuesday that confirmed the injury and had a cortisone shot in his right foot. The Sox expect him to return to action soon.
"It's the tolerance. It's not as though if he ran out there he'd damage it, but it might hurt if he ran out there. The hope is this will take care of the pain," said Valentine.
The Red Sox have the best record against the Tigers in the Major Leagues since the start of the 2008 season with a 23-11 record entering Tuesday's game.
Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks brings a seven-game hit streak into Tuesday's contest with a season-high three straight multihit games. He had an eight-game hit streak from May 23-June 6.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.