Carl Crawford expected to be ready for Opening Day

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Carl Crawford was limited to just 31 games in the majors this season prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in August. Pitchers usually need around a year to get back into game action, but position players can return sooner. That’s what the Dodgers are hoping for, anyway.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times this evening that he expects Crawford to be ready for Opening Day if he can avoid setbacks. If he can do it, he would be just over eight months removed from the surgery.

There was some chatter over the weekend that the Dodgers were pursuing Torii Hunter with Crawford and Matt Kemp coming off surgeries, but that would make him a pretty expensive insurance policy, especially with Andre Ethier still on the roster. Hunter is drawing plenty of interest right now and is likely to sign with a club where he has a defined full-time role.

Crawford was acquired from the Red Sox at the end of August along with Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto. The 31-year-old outfielder still has five years and $102.5 million remaining on his contract.

Kris Bryant hit in head with pitch, exits game vs. Rockies

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant left Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rockies after he was hit in the head by a German Marquez fastball in the top of the first inning. Manager Joe Maddon and a trainer came out to steady Bryant before helping him off the field.

Bryant passed concussion tests, but will continue to be evaluated, the Cubs announced. He has a small laceration above his eye from his sunglasses when he was hit.

Entering Sunday’s action, Bryant was hitting .319/.461/.536 with a pair of home runs and 11 RBI in 89 plate appearances.