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04/21/12 4:45 PM ET

Melancon shows progress in Pawtucket

BOSTON -- Right-handed reliever Mark Melancon, who is hoping to regain his confidence after being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, seems to have hit the ground running in his return to the Minors.

Pitching on Friday, Melancon fired 1 1/3 scoreless innings, walking none and striking out one.

Obviously, the Red Sox would like Melancon back in their bullpen once he regains his mechanics and confidence. The question is, how long will that be?

"Oh, he'll know," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "Then we'll know. His pitches need to get on a different plane, and also get to a different location. He was more aware of what we needed to get done than we could express to him."

Crawford not far from seeing outfield time

BOSTON -- Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford had another productive day in extended spring camp on Saturday, belting a home run. He has been used strictly as a designated hitter thus far, but that could change soon.

Crawford will soon fly to Boston so that club doctors can get another look at him.

"If the exam goes well, they're going to ... put him in the outfield, which I'm hoping he can just go in the outfield and underhand it in for a while, and just start playing that way and then get on a throwing program," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I'm hoping that's the next step."

The reason Crawford isn't playing the outfield yet is because he developed left elbow inflammation a couple of weeks ago. The main malady he is coming back from is left wrist surgery.

Rather than have Crawford jump from affiliate to affiliate, Valentine seems to think the outfielder can be just as productive staying in Florida.

"I guess he could start playing somewhere else and DH," Valentine said. "It's been talked about. We're not sure the necessity of having him move around -- different weather. Right now, he needs to see pitches, get at-bats, get on base and steal those bases -- start getting comfortable in playing the game. I'm not sure we're worried about the competition level. We're worried about his comfort and then his physical [well-being]."

Repko out briefly with separated shoulder

BOSTON -- The one place the Red Sox can't afford any more injuries in is the outfield. But they have one, at least for a couple of days.

Outfielder Jason Repko, who was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket a week ago, sustained a slight separation of his left shoulder while banging into the wall during a great catch in Friday's 6-2 loss to the Yankees.

Repko was out of the starting lineup on Saturday.

The Red Sox are hoping to avoid putting Repko on the disabled list, particularly with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford already sidelined.

Darnell McDonald, Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross started Saturday's game in the outfield. Nate Spears, a utility man, can go to the outfield if needed. Mike Aviles, Boston's starting shortstop, played right field in winter ball.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.