Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford caused a small stir earlier in spring training by mentioning his desire to bat higher in the order, but manager Bobby Valentine brushed off the comments during an interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, noting that he expects Crawford to help Boston no matter where he bats.
"Carl Crawford will not be a problem," Valentine said. "He's going to be a major contributor to the 2012 version of our team. Wherever he's hitting in our lineup, he'll be a major contributor to our team."
Crawford's first season with the Red Sox was like a ten-foot wave approaching shore that fizzled out instead of crashing, and the team fell apart in a similar fashion during its epic September collapse. With last year's shadow still looming, Valentine understands the Red Sox need to improve from last season, but sees the potential to win a lot of games.
When asked what he would predict for the Red Sox season if he still worked at ESPN, Valentine showed confidence in his squad.
"I would say that I would want to say what this team is," Valentine said. "I would say that, at ESPN I would say, 'listen, they have holes to fill, let's see how they fill them, if they fill them with people that are going to be contributing members of this team and contribute properly this might be a team to win 97 to 100 games."