Dating back to June of last season when Yasiel Puig arrived with the Los Angeles Dodgers, manager DOn Mattingly had a surplus of outfielders at his disposal.
It never quite became a burden as the group of outfielders were hardly healthy at the same time. Heading into this season, managing the outfield figured to prove difficult assuming all five players remained healthy.
While a similar situation emerged in regards to health, with Carl Crawford’s return from the disabled list, that has now changed. Crawford didn’t start Thursday and it appears the Dodgers will stick to the status quo in the outfield, which is one that doesn’t include Crawford as a regular starter.
However, that isn’t to deem Crawford as unusable. According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Mattingly stated the Dodgers will need all hands on deck when the team begins their road trip following the All-Star break:
We have a nasty little month coming at us,” Mattingly said. “We start it with a tough road trip and we’re going to need everybody.”
Mattingly acknowledged Crawford’s desire to play, but also believes the 32-year-old left fielder has the big picture in mind:
Obviously, Carl is a guy that wants to play,” Mattingly said. “But at this point, he sees what’s going on, we’ve been playing well. At the end of the day, I think guys want to get to the postseason and have a chance to win it all. … He’s played long enough to know this season is long, there’s going to be guys are going to get banged up.”
Following the All-Star break, the Dodgers will begin a nine-game road trip in St. Louis. From there, they’ll head to Pittsburgh and conclude the trip with a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants.
Crawford voiced his understanding with Mattingly wanting to stick with what’s helped get the Dodgers to the top of the National League West standings.
While injuries prevented the logjam in the outfield from becoming an issue last season, the same may not necessarily hold true this year.
Although the Dodgers may be hard pressed to include an outfielder in a trade because of the large contracts they are signed to, general manager Ned Colletti has expressed a desire to solidify the bullpen.
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