Carl Crawford began his rehab assignment with the Albuquerque Isotopes Saturday night, going 1-for-2 and playing four innings in rainy weather.
Crawford was initially scheduled for six innings and manager Don Mattingly indicated the left fielder will likely spend five or six games with the Isotopes.
While Crawford’s immediate future is laid out, what’ll transpire when he’s activated from the disabled list is largely unknown. Since Crawford was placed on the DL with the sprained ankle, Matt Kemp has entrenched himself in left field with Andre Ethier in center and Yasiel Puig in right.
According to Brent W. New of ESPN LA, Mattingly expressed little concern over the prospects of once again needing to juggle his outfielders:
I’m not that worried about it, honestly, right now. I’ll just kind of deal with it when it gets here. We’re playing pretty good, (and) we don’t expect to make a bunch of changes and mess with what’s going on.”
Mattingly also added the situation can change on a whim, which the Dodgers are no stranger to over the course of the last two seasons:
You know what? You never know what happens in five days — six days,” he said. “Thing tend to work themselves out.”
Aside from on occasional day off, Puig won’t be unseated from his position and the same likely holds true for Ethier, though he’s still been used as part of a platoon with Scott Van Slyke. With consistent playing time throughout June, Kemp hit well and came up with a timely outfield assist as he grew more comfortable in his new position by the day.
Along with more consistency in the lineup, the Dodgers erased a 9.5-game deficit in the National League West standings and Mattingly expressed his satisfaction with the current situation:
I think we’ve been fine. I like the way we’re playing and I think the continuity is good. I’ve been happy with everything”
Seeing what was taking place with Kemp in left field, Crawford voiced his concern over where he was going to fit in upon returning and was critical of how the outfield situation has been handled.
It was reported the Dodgers had placed all outfielders but Puig on the market, however nothing yet has come of it.
Mattingly handled a similar situation last season, which wasn’t much of an issue as the Dodgers never quite managed to have all outfielders healthy for a prolonged period of time. How the outfield picture will come together for the remainder of the season remains to be seen.
The Dodgers found a formula that coincided with their taking over first place in the NL West and potentially disturbing that momentum or continuity, shouldn’t be taken lightly.
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