The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Carl Crawford (back soreness) on the 15-day disabled list, and recalled Micah Johnson from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill the vacant roster spot. Los Angeles currently has 11 players on the DL, but Yasmani Grandal and Howie Kendrick are expected to be reinstated ahead of Tuesday’s home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Reports of Crawford’s back issue surfaced prior to first pitch on Friday night, with the veteran outfielder expressing hope a few days’ rest would solve the issue. Crawford dealt with discomfort during parts of Spring Training.
Scott Van Slyke started in left field each of the past two games, though Crawford was announced as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning on Friday, which prevents the Dodgers from backdating his DL stint to Thursday.
The 34 year old started all three games of the Opening Series against the San Diego Padres, batting .300/.300/.400 (3-for-10) with one double, two RBIs and three strikeouts. However, Crawford was removed early in all three games.
He was replaced by Trayce Thompson in the sixth inning of the first two games, and in the eighth inning of the series finale. An oblique injury forced Crawford to the 60-day DL and limited him to 69 games last season.
He was informed prior to the start of the 2016 campaign that Andre Ethier was to be the starting left fielder. However, Ethier soon after sustained a fractured right tibia after fouling a pitch off his leg and opened the year on the DL.
Crawford is owed $20.75 million next season and $21 million in 2017. His contract includes a clause that permits Crawford to block a trade to two clubs. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said a focus of his was on keeping Crawford healthy and being mindful of when to lighten the outfielder’s workload.
As for Johnson, he logged his first game in the outfield on Friday night with the OKC Dodgers. Including Major League and Minor League experience in the Chicago White Sox organization, Johnson had only played second base. He hit .345/.345/.379 with one double and two RBIs in 13 games this spring.
With the Giants starting Madison Bumgarner in the afternoon affair on Saturday, Van Slyke was again in left field, and Thompson started in center.