Crawford feeling good in first spring with Dodgers
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Injuries, inconsistency and the spotlight of playing in Boston weighed on Carl Crawford, even had him doubting himself for the first time in his career.
It also made him question why he ever left Tampa Bay to sign a $142 million, seven-year contract with the Red Sox.
"You hear a lot of talk about how I just wanted money," Crawford said. "At some point, you just wondered if you made the right decision."
After bottoming out, Crawford feels as though he has a second chance, ready to show the Los Angeles Dodgers and the rest of the baseball that he can again be the player who was one of the best left fielders in the game before those two lost seasons in Boston.
"Coming from over there to here is definitely a different feel," Crawford said.
Crawford was a four-time All-Star during his nine seasons with Tampa Bay, a superb fielder and slasher who could hit for average and wreak havoc on the bases. He led the majors in steals four times with the Rays and hit over .300 five times, earning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards during his final season with them in 2010.
That set up Crawford for a huge payday on the free-agent market and he decided to play for the Red Sox, hoping for a chance to win a World Series.
Instead, Crawford foundered in Boston, setting career lows with a .255 average and 18 stolen bases in 2011. Then he was limited to 31 games last season due to injuries.
"There definitely was a dark cloud over me when I was in Boston," Crawford said. "I knew with the struggles I was having it would never get better for me. I just didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. It puts you in kind of a depression stage. You just don't see a way out."
It didn't help that he was playing in one of the toughest media and fan environments in baseball, a town where even the slightest slump is overanalyzed and criticized.
Crawford went into the situation thinking he could handle it, but it became unbearable the more he struggled.
"From the outside, you watch guys playing over there and you think you can go and play," Crawford said. "But you realize, once you get there, it's a little tougher than you expected."
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