Carl Crawford has not been shy about his time on rehab assignment in the minors. The 13-year veteran had been patiently waiting for the opportunity to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers while nursing a dangerous oblique injury.
After beginning to show strides towards improvement, the 33-year-old began to spend time in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers to get his timing back and get on the field. Now that Crawford rejoined the team in Atlanta on Monday and was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday, he has an opportunity to reflect on his time and teammates down in the minors.
Crawford was asked before the game about his experience in Triple-A and if there were any interesting names on the team that caught his eye. Crawford responded instantly with two prospects, via Jacob Unruh of NewsOK.com:
I think the one that stood out to me is you’ve got (Darnell) Sweeney of course and the one that stood out to me the most was Barnes,” Crawford said. “I like him. He looked like a real good player. I think we’ll see him playing real good in the big leagues someday. They’ve got a lot of guys that can play, but he’s the guy that stood out the most to me.”
After Yasmani Grandal and A.J. Ellis were each respectively injured in the game on Sunday, the Dodgers responded by calling up Austin Barnes to make the start on Monday. Ellis was sent to the disabled list with knee inflammation and Grandal was listed as the back up catcher, but wasn’t slated to play in the game.
Being his second stint with the Dodgers, Barnes came prepared to play in the opener against the Atlanta Braves. The 25-year-old California native went 2-for-4 with a run scored. While playing for the OKC Dodgers, Barnes thrived and was elected the starting catcher for the Pacific Coast League All-Star game. On the season, he had a .304 batting average to go along with eight home runs and 38 RBIs.