The Los Angeles Dodgers added to their outfield depth on Tuesday, with Carl Crawford getting reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. Back soreness had kept Crawford out of the lineup since April 7 when he appeared as a pinch-hitter.
In his absence and with Scott Van Slyke also landing on the DL due to a back issue, the Dodgers relied on Kiké Hernandez, Howie Kendrick and occasionally Trayce Thompson in left field. “I think it’s one of those high-class problems,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his outfield depth.
“Now there’s different options, and guys have to be unselfish.” While Crawford re-entered the picture, Roberts intends to remain cautious in his handling of the veteran. “We’ve seen there’s a propensity to get injured, even though he’s in fantastic shape,” Roberts said.
“As you saw during the beginning of the season I took him out just to keep him off his feet. The idea of running him out there until he breaks is not something I believe in. I just try to conserve as much as possible and use our depth.”
Entering Tuesday, Crawford had yet to play a full nine innings in any of his three starts this season. He was replaced by Trayce Thompson in the sixth inning in his first two games, and in the eighth inning of the series finale against the San Diego Padres.
Crawford did play all nine in his first game back from the DL, going 1-for-3 with one walk. When asked how much playing time is optimal for Crawford, Roberts answered, “Optimally, three, maybe four times a week.” Crawford has sustained hamstring, oblique and back injuries since being traded to the Dodgers in August 2012.