Cherington has said a number of times that the Red Sox position is Crawford doesn't necessarily need Tommy John surgery. Crawford has made it sound inevitable.
''That's what the doctor told me,'' Crawford said.
In fact, if the Red Sox fall out of the wild card chase it sounds like the sooner it gets done the better off he'll be to start next season. For a position player, Crawford says, he's hearing it'll take five or six months recovery.
"That would be the smart thing to do if we're out of it," Crawford said. "The later I wait to get it done, the more time I'll miss.
"I tried to get back so quick and help the team. If we're still in it, I want to do that. But if not, you probably have to look into [surgery]. I figure one day it'll blow out and when that happens, it's time to go."
Lester, meanwhile, was looking to do something, anything about his string of recent blowouts. The 11 runs he allowed to Toronto last Sunday were the most by a Red Sox pitcher in 29 years.
After an extended bullpen session in Texas Wednesday, pitching coach Bob McClure told reporters that Lester had been swinging his leg in such a way that it changed the angle he released the ball. He believed Lester was back on track, back to his delivery of 2010.
Let's state the obvious: The Red Sox are going nowhere without quality second halves by Josh Beckett and Lester. They can't trade Beckett because of his contract and they don't want to trade Lester, who should be in his prime at age 28. Lester, 10-13 since the 2011 All-Star break and 5-8 with a 5.49 ERA in 2012, set down the first eight Yankees he faced before Chris Stewart homered. Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the fifth to give Lester a 6-1 lead. Lester gave up three in the bottom of the fifth. Still, so-so looked so good, so good compared to his previous starts.
"The last couple years, according to him, he hasn't felt as good physically as he feels right now and had to pitch more," Valentine said. "[This year] it seems like he was trying to overpower hitters."
"Tonight, Jon had what we needed. Before [the fifth] and after it, he was perfect. It was that one inning that he let it get away a little. He kept the ball down, changed sides of the plate and mixed his pitches."