Carl Crawford is done rehabbing in the minors and will rejoin the Dodgers after being out since late April with a strained oblique muscle.
Crawford hit .353 with a 1.012 OPS in 10 games during his rehab stint, but Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles writes that manager Don Mattingly’s “plan is to keep the starting outfield intact” and use Crawford sparingly while sticking with Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, and Yasiel Puig as everyday players.
Early in the season Crawford was the Dodgers’ starting left fielder and Ethier was typically on the bench, but during Crawford’s absence Ethier has hit .282 with eight homers and an .828 OPS in 66 games. By comparison, the last time Crawford topped an .828 OPS in a season was 2010 and he’s posted a .745 OPS in 236 total games for the Dodgers.
We’ve already seen the Dodgers’ outfield plans change several times due to injuries and performances, but for now Crawford will be a $20 million bench player.
The Braves clinched a postseason berth with Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Nationals. Now, the only question is whether they’ll get there with an NL East division title or via one of two wild card spots currently up for grabs.
Granted, things are looking pretty good on the division title front. After losing their second straight game to the Braves, the Nationals sit 10.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and every other division rival is at least 15 games out. The Braves, meanwhile, carry a magic number of four; should they clinch, it’ll be their 19th franchise title and 14th since they migrated to the East division in 1994.
They certainly looked like postseason contenders on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz led the charge with six innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball, limiting the Nationals to four hits while rookie right-hander Austin Voth kept the Braves scoreless through 5 2/3 frames. Things started to tip in Atlanta’s favor in the sixth inning: Nick Markakis put the team on the board with an RBI single, and a four-run breakout in the seventh helped cement a sizable lead. Over the last three innings, the Braves found opportunity after opportunity against the Nationals’ bullpen, capitalizing on walks, throwing errors, and productive outs as they climbed toward a double-digit finish.
The win didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. The Braves lost Charlie Culberson to a facial injury after he was struck by a Fernando Rodney fastball in the seventh inning, and they’ll likely be without him for the remainder of the regular season — pending a formal diagnosis, of course. Culberson’s loss isn’t the only one the club is feeling right now, either, as Johan Camargo ended his season with a hairline fracture in his right shin and Freddie Freeman is playing through a minor bout of elbow soreness after making an early exit from Friday’s 5-0 shutout.