UPDATE (April 12, 12:15 p.m. PT): The Los Angeles Dodgers reinstated Yasmani Grandal and Howie Kendrick prior to Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.
Both moves were anticipated dating back to last week, as Grandal began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City, and Kendrick with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Kendrick was in Tuesday’s lineup as the starting second baseman, while Grandal is expected to make his debut on Wednesday.
To clear room on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned Micah Johnson back to Oklahoma City, and placed Scott Van Slyke (low back irritation) on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 10.
There was an initial belief Van Slyke would avoid a stint on the DL. While he became the fourth outfielder who isn’t currently active, there was a positive update to Carl Crawford’s status, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Crawford's back improving, should be ready in 15 days. No MRI taken.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) April 12, 2016
The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Carl Crawford on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday due to lower back tightness. He said the discomfort is an issue he battled since Spring Training, and prior to getting placed on the DL, said he hoped to return after a few days rest.
Crawford last appeared in a game on Thursday as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, with his last start coming in the series finale against the San Diego Padres. On Friday, the veteran outfielder was announced as a pinch-hitter, though he didn’t take the at-bat and was immediately replaced by Kiké Hernandez.
Scott Van Slyke was removed in the third inning on Saturday, also with lower back tightness. He doesn’t believe the matter is serious, though it’s something the Dodgers presumably will closely monitor.
Despite reporting to Spring Training with an abundance of outfielders, the Dodgers’ depth has taken a considerable hit in recent weeks. Andre Ethier was the first to go down with a major injury, sustaining a fractured right tibia as a result of fouling a pitch off his leg.
Although Crawford suggested the back soreness was not a reason to be overly concerned, he is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, per J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News group:
Johnson will take the active roster spot of Carl Crawford, who's getting an MRI on Monday and will spend at least 15 days on the DL.
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) April 9, 2016
Micah Johnson, who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take the place of Crawford on the active roster, joined the Dodgers late during Saturday’s game, appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and remained in at second base.
For Crawford, he may be facing another season with a lengthy stint on the DL should the MRI reveal a specific reason for his lingering back trouble; a torn oblique forced him to the 60-day DL last season.
Appearing in just 69 games, Crawford batted .265/.304/.403 with nine doubles, four home runs, 16 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Crawford, who will turn 34 years old in August, is under contract for $20.75 million this season and $21 million in 2017. His contract includes a clause that permits him to block a trade to two clubs.