Crawford returns

TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012

Carl Crawford is back in the Red Sox’s lineup after being on the 60-day disabled list. (Associated Press)
Carl Crawford is back in the Red Sox’s lineup after being on the 60-day disabled list. (Associated Press)

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford was in Boston’s lineup Monday after missing the entire season with left wrist and elbow injuries.

Signed to a $142 million, seven-year contract before last season, the 30-year old Crawford had a disappointing 2011. He hit a career-worst .255 with 11 homers and 56 RBIs, and finished with just 18 stolen bases after swiping 47 in 2010 and 60 the year before that.

“Just happy to be back out there,” he said before the Red Sox took the field for batting practice. “I’m excited about playing. It’s been a while. I’m just happy that I can play a big league game. I’m a little nervous.”

Crawford had wrist surgery in January and was hoping to be ready for opening day, but suffered a few setbacks and didn’t begin his first rehab assignment until late June.

Crawford batted second against the White Sox and went 1 for 3 with a walk. Kevin Youkilis returned to Beantown for the first time since his June 24 trade to Chicago and went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Boston won 5-1.

Crawford was especially happy to be batting near the top of the order, in a spot vacated with Dustin Pedroia on the 15-day disabled list. Last season, Crawford mostly hit in the lower third of the order.

Greinke to rest

After Zack Greinke’s three straight starts apparently left him feeling fatigued and out of his routine, the Milwaukee Brewers are skipping his scheduled start Wednesday and will sit him down until next week.

Greinke, a potential trade target for contending teams with the deadline approaching at the end of this month, was ejected in the first inning of a July 7 start in Houston. He pitched again the next day, then started Milwaukee’s first game after the All-Star break. He gave up 10 runs in eight-plus innings during those three starts.

Clearing the bases

Reds first baseman Joey Votto will have surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, sidelining him for three to four weeks. … Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy said right-hander Juan Nicasio is likely out for the season following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. … Blue Jays left-hander Luis Perez is going have reconstructive elbow surgery today, an operation that could sideline him for more than a year.

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