Carl Crawford making strides at plate, throwing

Crawford prefers the big stadium to the back fields. "It helps build up confidence, being in front of a crowd and having success that way," he said. - Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

Crawford went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in on Monday, but perhaps more importantly has increased the intensity of his throwing in hopes of returning to the field soon.

On Mar. 1, as Carl Crawford was shut down with nerve irritation in his arm, manager Don Mattingly said of his left fielder, "He can pretty much do everything except throw and hit."

On Monday, those two crucial yet elusive skills showed signs of returning for Crawford. In just his second game as a Dodger, Crawford made an impact at the plate on Monday afternoon in the Dodgers' 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. He had two singles, his first two as a Dodger, and drove in two runs as the designated hitter, but Mattingly was more impressed by something that happened before the game.

"It's good to see him get a couple of hits, which makes him feel better and more part of it. But even better today for me was him throwing, and Stan (Conte, team director of medical services) working with him on the cuts," Mattingly said. "He had a lot on the ball. That was really positive today."

Crawford said he has been throwing at between 75 and 80 feet, and that in the last few days has ramped up the intensity of those workouts.

"I'm throwing a little bit harder at (75-80) feet," Crawford said. "At some point the goal is to be able to hit the cut off man, I'm not sure how many feet that is but that's the goal."

That goal is the threshold needed for Crawford to be cleared to return to playing in the field during games. He will serve as designated hitter again on Tuesday, but it seems like Crawford's return to the field isn't too far off. At the plate, Crawford has been working extra batting practice with hitting coach Mark McGwire, and is happy with where his swing is at now.

"I'm going the other way, that's a good thing," Crawford said. "You can get get base hits going the other way early on. That's what you want to do, start that way, and it opens up from there."

Up next

The Dodgers host the Athletics on Tuesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, with Chris Capuano getting the start against Dan Straily for Oakland.

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