With Carl Crawford now reinstated from the disabled list, the Los Angeles Dodgers are back to carrying five outfielders on the active roster.

However, one glaring weakness in the group of five is the lack of a center fielder. It was believed Matt Kemp was the answer once he came off the DL, but he struggled and was subsequently benched. Kemp was then moved to left field and Andre Ethier was placed in center.

The realigning appeared to work as Kemp settled in at his new position, which was aided by consistent playing time by virtue of Crawford spraining his ankle. Ethier has proven to be an able body out in center as he’s platooned with Scott Van Slyke, who similarly has been average.

In search of a solution, Crawford will begin fielding fly balls in preparation to potentially seeing time in center, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the LA Daily News:

Mattingly later added Crawford got some center field work in on Friday:

Since being traded to the Dodgers in 2012, Crawford has exclusively played in left field. The last time the 32-year-old played in center field was in 2008 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Crawford logged a career-high 225 innings in center during the 2004 season and his next highest total of 65 came the following year. Manager Don Mattingly indicated wholesale changes wouldn’t come with Crawford’s return and Kemp would remain as the regular starter in left, which Crawford said he understood considering the team was winning.

Crawford’s speed is superior to that of Ethier and Van Slyke, but his arm strength is cause for concern. It’s plausible this is simply a means to turn the group of outfielders a bit more versatible, but the outfield picture still appears to be a fluid a situation.
Leaked Houston Astros Trade Talks Reveals Dodgers Shopped Carl Crawford

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About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

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