Playing left field for the first time in more than seven months, Carl Crawford said Saturday that he is confident he will be in the Dodgers lineup on opening day. "I should be real comfortable out there by April 1," Crawford said. Crawford was on the field for only the first three innings of the Dodgers' game against the Chicago White Sox and not a single ball was hit his way. "Normally, when you get in and it's been a while, the ball usually comes right to you," Crawford said, smiling. "But I got lucky today. It was cool. It was real calm out there. It felt good to be back running on grass, just running in and out of the dugout — little things you take for granted." Despite the lack of action, the four-time All-Star described his return to the field as "a major step." Crawford had played in four previous games for the Dodgers this spring, all of them as their designated hitter. The last time Crawford played in the outfield was Aug. 19 of last year, with the Boston Red Sox. He underwent a season-ending elbow operation four days later and was traded to the Dodgers as part of a four-player package Aug. 25. Crawford is currently throwing the ball at about 90 feet. The Dodgers would like him to be at 125 feet by opening day. His progress has convinced General Manager Ned Colletti that he will be able to play against the San Francisco Giants in the season opener. "Now that I'm comfortable being out there, I can focus a little bit more on my swing," Crawford said. Crawford batted leadoff and was one for two with an infield single. He is batting .267 this spring. "That's still a work in progress right now," he said. "I'm using my legs to get the little hits I'm getting. I got a week to go. We're going to keep working on it." If Crawford can't play on opening day, his place could be taken by 22-year-old Cuban defector Yasiel Puig.
Carl Crawford confident he'll be in opening-day lineup
Los Angeles Times | Mar 24