Carl Crawford sitting out Dodgers’ second game

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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.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.