The Red Sox have battled injuries. They've battled ineffectiveness. They've battled pretty much everything there is to battle. And with the season now officially at its halfway point, Dustin Pedroia has something to say.

"We want to win a World Series, man," he said before last night's game against the A's. "That's our goal. Just because we've had some guys beat up, or some bad luck, whatever it happened to be, we're still here."

We've spent so much of the first half focused on the Sox' efforts to escape last place that it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. But even through the struggles of their sub-.500 start, the players remained World Series-driven.

Now help is on the horizon. Carl Crawford is rehabbing in Double A and remains on track to return for the second half. Jacoby Ellsbury has 10 at-bats in the Gulf Coast League and his rehab should accelerate quickly.

Barring any setbacks, both will return after the All-Star break with an opportunity to give the lineup a tremendous boost.

"We haven't had Carl at all," Pedroia said. "We've had Ells for, what, five or six games? We've played as hard as we can without those two guys to make sure that when we get full steam, it's time to go. We need to stay healthy and play well. It's time."