Carl Crawford shut down with nerve irritation, status for Opening Day in question

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Carl Crawford won’t hit or throw for at least a week because of forearm tightness, manager Don Mattingly announced today.

Players taking time off with aches and pains is a very common occurrence early in spring training, but in Crawford’s case it’s a much bigger worry because it’s related to his Tommy John elbow surgery last year. For now the Dodgers are saying he has “minor nerve irritation” and the ligament isn’t an issue.

Mattingly told Eric Stephen of SB Nation that the setback “challenges” Crawford’s status for Opening Day, which is now very much in question.

Crawford played just 31 games last season and didn’t appear in a game for the Dodgers after coming over in the Adrian Gonzalez-led blockbuster trade/salary dump. He’s owed $20 million for this season and has more than $100 million remaining on his contract.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.