PORTLAND — The July 3 game on the Portland Sea Dogs schedule has always been one of the most popular of the season according to Chris Cameron, the assistant general manager and media relations director for the Sea Dogs.
The game is followed by a 20-minute fireworks display.
The game will be even more popular Tuesday night because Boston Red Sox left-fielder Carl Crawford, who is on a rehab assignment, will be in the lineup for the Double-A Sea Dogs.
Crawford, who is recovering from left wrist surgery and a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, has recently played in five games with the Red Sox’s Gulf Coast League (Class A) affiliate in Fort Myers, Fla., going 3-for-14 (.214).
“I’m sure people will be hanging from the rafters,” said Sea Dogs president and general manager Charlie Eshbach. “It’s hard to sell any more than a sell-out.”
“We’re hiring extra staff,” said Cameron. “We want to accommodate as many people as we can.”
In his first year with Boston in 2011, Crawford had his worst season in his 10 major league campaigns, hitting just .255 in 130 of 162 games. Injuries limited his playing time.
He had entered the 2011 season as a career .296 hitter and was coming off a 2010 season in Tampa Bay in which he hit .307 with 19 homers, 90 RBIs and 47 stolen bases.
The 30-year-old Crawford stole just 18 bases a year ago after stealing at least 46 in seven of the previous eight seasons.
The four-time American League All-Star and 2009 All-Star game Most Valuable Player has led the American League in stolen bases and in triples four times each.
“People think last year was just an off-year and that he’ll bounce back,” said Eshbach.
Crawford is expected to join the Red Sox right after the All-Star game, which will be held in Kansas City on July 10.
Red Sox center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is also doing a rehab stint as he recovers from a partially dislocated right shoulder. He is still with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and could also find himself with the Sea Dogs although the team will depart on a road trip following Tuesday night’s game and won’t return to Portland again until July 12.
Ellsbury, like Crawford, could be back in a Red Sox uniform by then.
Crawford will be the second prominent Red Sox player to do a rehab stint in Portland as pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka made a start in Portland earlier this season.
Matsuzaka is back in Boston’s starting rotation.
Portland has three All-Stars
Three Sea Dogs have placed three players on the Eastern League All-Star team.
Right-fielder Bryce Brentz, first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez and pitcher Chris Hernandez will play for the Eastern Division All-Stars against the Western Division stars on Wednesday, July 11 at First Energy Stadium in Reading, Pa.
The team rosters were chosen through fan voting along with selections from media personnel, club field personnel and Eastern League administrators.
Each team has at least three players on the all-star teams including one pitcher.
Brentz was hitting .296 with 10 homers and 37 runs batted in entering Monday’s doubleheader with Trenton. He was 16th in the league in batting average.
The 23-year-old was named the league’s player of the month for May after he hit .388 with five homers, 18 runs scored and 11 RBIs in 26 games.
He had eight consecutive hits in one two-game stretch in May and has already set a franchise record by becoming the first Sea Dog in the franchise’s 19-year history to have more than one five-hit game in a season. He has already had two.
He led the Sea Dogs in hits (82), runs scored (38), RBIs (37) and total bases (133). He was third among the regulars in slugging percentage (.480).
Lefty Hernandez has the Eastern League’s sixth-lowest earned run average at 2.91.
The Miami native and former University of Miami Hurricane has allowed 89 hits in 92⅔ innings with 50 strikeouts and 32 walks.
Rodriguez led the Sea Dogs in homers with 12 and doubles with 21 while hitting .252.
He was second in slugging percentage (.496) behind J.C. Linares and his 124 total bases were second behind Brentz.
Linares, who hit .333 for the Sea Dogs, was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket last month.