Carl Crawford has passed the appropriate thresholds required, and will return to the field on Saturday for the Dodgers, for the first time since Tommy John surgery last Aug. 23. The move was announced by manager Don Mattingly on Friday, and will come nine days prior to opening day.
Crawford on Friday is the designated hitter against the Reds, his fourth Cactus League game.
Beginning Saturday, the Dodgers will have eight more exhibition games remaining, including three Freeway Series games against the Angels in Anaheim and Los Angeles.
Crawford was shut down for a week on Mar. 1 after minor nerve irritation in his left arm, and returned to batting practice on Mar. 7. He began a light throwing program on Mar. 14, and played in his first game as designated hitter on Mar. 17.
Speaking of Crawford, Chad Moriyama wrote about Crawford's batting stance for Baseball Prospectus back in October, and asked me to check with Crawford to see about some of the changes he made. Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness went a step further with screen caps and heat maps to show the trouble Crawford had with outside pitches with a more open stance.
- Ted Lilly is throwing a minor league game on the back fields at Camelback Ranch as we speak.
- Hyun-jin Ryu will start Saturday's night game against the White Sox in Glendale, while Chad Billingsley will pitch in a minor league game at 1 p.m.
- Alfredo Amezaga was originally scheduled to start at second base and bat ninth for the Dodgers, but was scratched due to illness. Elian Herrera moved from right field to second base, and Alex Castellanos got the start in right field instead.
- Scheduled to pitch after Clayton Kershaw on Friday are Mark Lowe, Josh Wall, Paco Rodriguez, and Peter Moylan.
- Scheduled to pitch after Mike Leake for Cincinnati are Aroldis Chapma, Jose Arredondo, J.J. Hoover, Sean Marshall, and Clay Hensley.
Time: 1:05 p.m. PT
TV: none, but webcast on Dodgers.com
Radio: MLB.com (Reds broadcast)