ARLINGTON, Texas -- Despite manager Bobby Valentine's decision to lift outfielder Carl Crawford from a tie game out of fear for his left (throwing) elbow in the late innings, the manager said he's not likely to use Crawford in the DH spot while David Ortiz is on the disabled list. "I don't think that it's time,'' said Valentine. "We've got to get Carl playing and into the swing of things. I mean, it's not like there wasn't a thought of it. We thought it and negated it.'' Crawford was hitting seventh in the Red Sox batting order again for a second straight night, with Pedro Ciriaco serving as the DH in the second spot against Texas lefty starter Derek Holland. "I think Pedro offers a little something offensively that I like in there,'' said Valentine of Ciriaco's role as temporary DH. "With Carl DHing, that means Pedro wouldn't.'' As for how to handle Crawford in the outfield, Valentine acknowledged that the Sox were ''playing it by ear. This is all a learning experience. We'll just learn as we go. But I'm just trying to do the smart thing and not put anybody in a position to fail, but putting people in a position to succeed. This isn't a test.''
-- Jon Lester, set to start the middle game of the upcoming series at Yankee Stadium, had what Valentine termed "a long throwing session,'' Wednesday at The Ballpark. "He said he felt great and to me, he looked great,'' said Valentine. Lester had the worst start of his major league career Sunday, allowing 11 runs in just four innings. He's allowed 21 runs in his last 12 13 innings, covering three starts. "He just wanted to get a feel for what the hitters were seeing (off him),'' said Valentine. "I talked to the hitters and they said they saw great stuff. It wasn't like they saw anything that made them thinkthat (Lester) should change anything.''
-- Daisuke Matsuzaka (trapezeus muscle) also threw a bullpen session and according to Valentine, "threw the best that he's thrown in a long time.''
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.