Carl Crawford almost ready to begin facing live pitching

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An update here on the Dodgers’ Carl Crawford.

According to beat writer Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Crawford is throwing at a distance of 90 feet and taking regular swings off a tee at the Dodgers’ spring training complex in Arizona without any pain or discomfort in his surgically-repaired left elbow.

Crawford hopes to begin facing live pitching within the next couple of days and told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in camp that he is “confident” he will be ready for the beginning of the 2013 regular season.

Crawford has batted just .260/.292/.419 with 14 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 75 RBI in 664 plate appearances since signing a seven-year, $142 million free agent contract with the Red Sox before the start of the 2011 campaign. The 31-year-old outfielder was traded to Los Angeles last summer.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.