UPDATE (July 4, 3:30 p.m.): According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Carl Crawford will report to Triple-A Albuquerque Saturday:
Crawford to Albuquerque on Saturday.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) July 4, 2014
The Los Angeles Dodgers outfield picture took an unexpected turn this season when manager Don Mattingly benched Matt Kemp and revealed he intended to move him to left field.
Although platooning to a certain extent with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford was receiving the majority of the starts in left field. This held true as Kemp worked on getting acquainted with his new position, which was accelerated when Crawford suffered a sprained ankle May 27.
The injury resulted in Crawford being placed on the disabled list the following day, but a return may be coming as manager Don Mattingly said the outfielder could begin a rehab assignment this weekend, via Michael Lananna of MLB.com:
Carl’s doing really well,” Mattingly said. “Carl’s been running the bases. He’s been hitting outside. If everything continues on this path, I would say this weekend at some point he’ll probably be playing in some games. He’ll probably be going to [Triple-A] Albuquerque.”
At the time of the injury, Crawford and the Dodgers expressed concern he could be sidelined for a lengthy period of time. However, the left fielder was recovering better than expected, which led to some thought he would join the Dodgers as they concluded a road trip in Cincinnati.
That didn’t occur and Crawford then suffered a setback while rehabbing at the team’s Spring Training complex and was temporarily shutdown.
Dating back to last season, it’s been a rare occasion where the Dodgers have had the entire group of outfielders healthy. While Crawford’s return will give Mattingly another option and slightly more flexibility with respect to matchups, it will also present a challenge.
The versatility Crawford brings to the table, which allows Mattingly to move him around in the batting order, coupled with the option of giving Kemp days off for rest, is likely to garner Crawford some playing. However, whether it will be enough for his liking remains to be seen.
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