Heading into the 2014 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers could face the dilemma of having four capable outfielders for three outfield spots.
There were only a handful of games last season in which Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig were all healthy and in the major leagues, but this season, the number could increase. All four players have been outspoken about how they’d like to play on an everyday basis, but manager Don Mattingly acknowledged one person will be upset on a daily basis.
However, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Carl Crawford experienced some discomfort in the team’s Cactus League opener:
Carl Crawford said his right leg tightened scoring from first on Yasiel Puig’s third-inning triple. He left as scheduled after five innings.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 26, 2014
Crawford was on first base after punching a single into left field and was brought home by a double in the left-center field from Puig. He remained in the game for two more innings after he scored. The left fielder had some trouble on defense in the earlier innings, misplaying a few balls in the outfield that cost starter Clayton Kershaw two runs in the second inning.
Crawford isn’t expected to play tomorrow against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that was previously scheduled. Last season, the 32-year-old hit .283 with six home runs, 31 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He’s vowed to do more running this season; however, if his leg issues continue then it could slow him down on the base paths. The fact that Crawford remained in the game bodes well for the Dodgers and tightness and soreness is expected early on in the spring.
The Dodgers have already limited Puig’s throwing program this spring after he experienced some tenderness in his throwing arm and are awaiting the results of an MRI for Kemp on Friday. Kemp isn’t expected to start the year healthy and could join the lineup in April. Spring Training is shorter for the team this year because of their opening series in Australia on March 22-23, but it doesn’t sound like Crawford’s injury is too serious.
UPDATE: Thursday morning, Crawford spoke to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA about his injury:
Carl Crawford confirmed he's out of lineup as a precaution because of hamstring tightness. Will do full workout otherwise
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 27, 2014
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