By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
Carl Crawford will be activated Monday when the Sox begin a three-game series in Baltimore. Crawford has missed a month with a hamstring pull suffered June 17.
Crawford had a two-game rehab assignment at McCoy Stadium over the weekend, managing one single and a walk in six plate appearances with the PawSox.
"He didn't swing the bat great (in the two games)," said Terry Francona, "but he's healthy, which is perfect. He got some at-bats out of the way. The timing at the plate, hopefully it will come quick. But he'll be ready to go tomorrow. There are no (physical) issues, so that's great."
The Sox are hopeful that Crawford will use his return as a fresh beginning to what has been a disappointing start to his career in Boston. His batting average didn't get over .200 until May, and although Crawford has had a handful of walk-off hits, he hasn't had nearly the impact he was projected to have when he signed a seven-year, 142 million deal with the Sox last December.
He was batting .243.275.384 with six homers, eight steals and 31 RBI before landing on the disabled list in mid-June.
"His batting average might be lower than we're used to," said Francona, "but if he comes back for the last couple of months and is that kind of terror who causes havoc, what a lift that would give us. I thought he had shown flashes of that. I don't think he had ever gotten hot like he can."
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UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.
BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.
A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal...
...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...
have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora.
A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said.
Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.
Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.
The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.
The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.
Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:
"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."
After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.