LOS ANGELES -- It appears Carl Crawford will beat Scott Van Slyke in the battle of outfielders with lower back tightness returning from the disabled list.
Crawford has been working out this week and hitting pregame, and even ran the bases on Saturday. He has passed every test to date and is expected to join Triple-A Oklahoma City for a rehab assignment this week. The plan is for Crawford to be activated when the Dodgers are at Coors Field in Denver on Sunday, the first day he is eligible to return from the disabled list.
Van Slyke, also dealing with lower back tightness, is eligible to return next Monday, April 25, but manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that wouldn't happen.
"He's doing core work, but isn't doing any baseball activities. I talked to him this morning and he said he feels considerably better. I would assume here in the next couple days we're going to get him back moving around," Roberts said. "He's going to go on a rehab assignment at some point."
Van Slyke will remain in Los Angeles when the club is on their road trip this week. Crawford will accompany the team to Atlanta before joining Oklahoma CIty, which plays at home through Friday before heading to Iowa for a series starting Saturday.
Crawford and Van Slyke split the first six starts of the season in left field. Crawford was 3-for-11 with a double, while Van Slke was 1-for-9 with a double and a hit by pitch.
Since both were sidelined, Kiké Hernandez has started four of seven games in left field. Howie Kendrick gets his second start at the position on Sunday night, and Trayce Thompson has started there as well.
Dodgers left fielders are hitting a combined .383/.431/.660 with two home runs, seven doubles and 15 RBI in 11 games this season.
An injured trio of former fifth starter candidates remain at Camelback Ranch in Arizona, with only Mike Bolsinger reasonably close to returning to action.
Bolsinger, sidelined with a strained oblique, is throwing to a distance of up to 90 feet, said Roberts.
Carlos Frias, on the minor league disabled list with his own oblique strain, is not yet throwing, while Brandon Beachy is dealing with right elbow inflammation and currently "just laying low," as Roberts described it.
The five major league starters that the Dodgers do have will all get an extra day of rest with Monday's off day. Roberts said the club has no plans to shuffle the rotation before beginning a stretch of 13 games in 13 days on Tuesday in Atlanta.