Carl Crawford injury: Dodgers left fielder out a week with nerve irritation

Rob Tringali

The Dodgers left fielder, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has nerve irritation in his left arm and his status for opening day is in question.

Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford has suffered minor nerve irritation in his left arm, and is expected to miss a week of spring training, from Friday. The injury puts into question Crawford's plan for being ready for opening day.

"It challenges opening day a little bit. Talking with Carl, he says 'I know I can still do it,' but I've said all along, it's why we haven't set hard deadlines for anything," manager Don Mattingly said. "When Carl gets on the field, I want him to be competitive."

The Dodgers saw the nerve irritation does not involve Crawford's surgically repaired ligament, but is relatively common during the rehab process for Tommy John surgery. Crawford saw team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Thursday night, and was prescribed additional anti-inflammatory medication and rest.

Crawford will be able to participate in workouts, though he can't throw or hit, at least for another week.

"He can't throw and he can't hit. He can still track, and do the baserunning. He can pretty much do everything except throw and hit."

Mattingly said he doesn't want to rush Crawford back, and didn't rule out the possibility of Crawford starting the season on the disabled list.

"If he's going to play 140 games, I'd rather it be 140 straight, rather than play 10 and be out two weeks," Mattingly said.

If Crawford does start the season on the disabled list, Mattingly said the Dodgers would likely platoon in left field in Crawford's absence. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Skip Schumaker are likely candidates, along with Alex Castellanos, who is on the 40-man, and Tony Gwynn Jr., who isn't.

"You start getting into who's on the roster and who's not. What are you willing to do, and how long is it going to be? Are you willing to burn a roster spot for 10 days?" Mattingly posited. "Then it starts getting into Ned's territory, where you weigh decisions."

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