Carl Crawford leaves minor league game with shoulder inflammation

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Crawford was 0-for-1 with a strikeout and played two innings in left field before leaving and heading back to the clubhouse on a cart. The injury is considered minor, and no MRI exam is planned.

Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford left Tuesday's minor league game against Padres Triple-A players at Camelback Ranch on a cart, possibly with a shoulder injury per multiple reports.

"Several people who saw him carted away said he was holding his right shoulder as he was taken from the field," wrote Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register, one of a few reporters on hand on the back fields to watch the game, which also featured Matt Kemp in center field and Dan Haren on the mound.

"Sources indicate the outfielder might have tweaked his right shoulder," wrote Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. His colleague Ken Gurnick called it a "minor shoulder issue."

Per both reports, Crawford struck out looking in his only at-bat and returned to play left field in the top of the second inning before leaving the game in the middle of the second inning.

What complicates this is that Crawford stayed back to be available at a moment's notice to be with his fiancèe for the birth of their child, expected any day now. Crawford was expected to open the season on the paternity leave list, but once rosters are due on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT (six hours before the opening game in Sydney against the Diamondbacks) a shoulder injury could push Crawford to a different list.

Heading back to the clubhouse on a cart sounds bad at first, but it's also common for players - especially stars with high-paying major league contracts like Crawford - to be given a ride from the backfields of Camelback Ranch all the way back to the Dodgers' main complex building.

With the bulk of the team in Australia, there is no clubhouse access this week at Camelback Ranch, so nobody has yet spoken to Crawford to find out a reason why he exited the game. Manager Don Mattingly is expected to address the issue at his pregame press conference in Australia on Wednesday, but that won't happen until some time shortly before the Dodgers' workout, which isn't until 10:30 p.m. PT tonight.

This falls under speculation, but if the Dodgers would have to place Crawford on the disabled list the earliest he could return is the home opener on April 4. Five games doesn't sound like a compelling enough reason for the Dodgers to add Joc Pederson to the 40-man roster, but if Crawford needs to miss much more time, coupled with the unknown return date of Kemp, well ... let's just wait to hear what Mattingly has to say first.

UPDATE (8:45 p.m. PT): Mattingly said Crawford had shoulder inflammation and that no MRI is planned, per David Vassegh of KLAC. Mattingly also said Crawford was scheduled to have Wednesday off anyway, and is expected to play on Thursday, again per Vassegh.

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