Carl Crawford appeared in only 31 games in 2012 and battled elbow inflammation this spring, so the Dodgers are treating him with extra care early on.
According to beat writer Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the outfielder is on the bench for the Dodgers’ second regular-season game Tuesday night against the rival Giants. Jerry Hairston Jr. will start in left field and bat out of the leadoff spot vs. San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
Crawford went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the Dodgers’ season-opening victory Monday over the Giants. But right-hander Matt Cain started that game. Crawford owns an .811 career OPS against righties and a .688 career OPS against southpaws.
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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.