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.

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young dies at 51

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Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young died on Tuesday at the age of 51, the team said. Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in February.

Young, 51, pitched parts of six seasons in the majors from 1991-96. He began his big league career with the Mets in 1991 and stayed with the team through ’93. He famously failed to win a game between April 24, 1992 and July 24, 1993. During that span of time, he went 0-27. It was a great example, even back then, of the uselessness of won-lost records. Young posted a respectable 4.17 ERA in ’92 and 3.77 in ’93.

Former pitcher Turk Wendell, who was Young’s teammate with the Cubs in 1994-95, called Young “a true gentleman.”

Blue Jays designate Jason Grilli for assignment

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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that the club designated reliever Jason Grilli for assignment as part of a handful of roster moves. Outfielder Dwight Smith was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was activated from the 10-day disabled list, and pitcher Chris Smith was recalled from Buffalo as well.

Grilli, 40, struggled to a 6.97 ERA with a 23/9 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings of work this season in Toronto. The right-hander similarly struggled in the first half last year with the Braves before being acquired by the Jays but Grilli’s role had diminished and most of the rest of the bullpen has been pulling its weight.

Grilli should draw some interest — perhaps from the Nationals — as his peripheral stats suggest he’s not nearly as bad as his ERA suggests.