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Carl Crawford 'just wants to play good baseball, that's it'

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The Dodgers left fielder leads the National League in batting average and on-base percentage.

US PRESSWIRE

One of the bright spots for the Dodgers in the early going has been Carl Crawford, who has recovered quite nicely from August Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.

Crawford homered in Wednesday's win over the Padres and leads the National League in both batting average (.464) and on-base percentage (.531). His 1.246 OPS ranks second in the league to Justin Upton.

"He's been pretty good. I can't say I expected this, but I've seen how good Carl was in the past," said manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday. "We pretty much knew what we were getting with Carl."

That Crawford in the past was the one who hit .296/.337/.444 and averaged 50 steals a season in eight years in Tampa Bay. The one with stellar defense that signed a $142 million, seven-year contract with the Red Sox prior to 2011.

"You never know how it's going to go, you hope for the best. The way the last few years have gone for me it is a bit of a surprise," Crawford said. "I'm just making sure I'm ready. making sure my body feels the way I want it to feel, making sure I have the proper amount of hacks I need."

Crawford had two injury plagued and unproductive years in Boston, hitting just .260/.292/.419. They were two years that Crawford would prefer stay in the past.

"I feel more like the guy that was in Tampa. I just want to play baseball good. That's all I want to do," Crawford said. "I don't want to prove nothing to me, you, Boston, whoever. I just want to play good baseball, that's it."

Good baseball is what Crawford has played so far this season, providing the spark for the Dodgers at the top of the lineup. In a few weeks his arm strength should return to normal, putting him at full health. It's a time Crawford is enjoying.

"It's definitely fun. Everything is good for me right now," he said. "My body is getting better by the day."