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Cactus Juice: Dodgers play waiting game with Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Carl Crawford's fresh start (USAT)

When it comes to buzzy names and bloated paychecks, the Dodgers have few rivals in major league baseball. There are major fantasy options all over the Glendale diamond; this is a roster we have to take seriously.

Alas, aches and pains are part of this L.A. Story, too – especially in the outfield.

Left fielder Carl Crawford is coming off Tommy John surgery and it's not a guarantee he'll be ready for the opening of the season. Crawford suffered a "minor setback" this week, stiffness in his left forearm, and he was limited in his Thursday workout. Here's more from beat writer Ken Gurnick:

Crawford participated in drills other than throwing and hitting Thursday, saying the stiffness cropped up two days ago.

"It flared up on me," said Crawford. "We're just being careful. I don't think it's [anything] crazy, just everybody is being very careful. From what I'm hearing, this stuff happens and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again. "We just have to stay on top of it. I don't look at it as a major setback. If I had to, I could do the things I'd have to do."

Manager Don Mattingly said Crawford might have thrown too much in his rehab from Tommy John elbow surgery.

"It's not uncommon going through this," Mattingly said. "We want to be cautious with Carl. There's plenty of time before Opening Day. I don't know if it's a setback, but it's a pause. We've had him doing so much, and this guy is a working machine. He wants to get out there, but Sue [Falsone, trainer] wants to be cautious. We don't want to push it."

The roto market has been surprisingly forgiving of Crawford in the early draft season. His current Yahoo! ADP is a robust 123, in the neighborhood of Shane Victorino, Melky Cabrera, Josh Willingham and Hunter Pence. Given that Crawford is three years removed from his last strong year, and now in his early 30s, I'm not going to pay the current price tag. Tell me why you think I'm wrong in the comments.

The Dodgers also have to be careful with their star center fielder, Matt Kemp. He had his left shoulder surgically repaired in early October and he's yet to play in a spring training game - though that could come as soon as Friday. Here's more from Gurnick:

Kemp said he's passed the big tests in his mind after surgery to repair a torn left shoulder labrum.

"I can swing and miss and I can check-swing, and I don't feel anything," he said. "Last year, I would feel it get tingly down my arm. But that's gone. I think it's time to play a game."

Mattingly originally was planning to ease both Crawford and Kemp back into game action as designated hitters. But he said Kemp will likely play the field as well because his injury, unlike Crawford's, doesn't involve his throwing arm.

"I don't necessarily have to DH Matt," said Mattingly. "When we feel like he's ready to go, he can play the field. It's not like Carl."

While I'm certainly less worried about Kemp than Crawford, this is another player I'm probably unlikely to draft. We're talking about a premium fantasy pick (ADP: 5.9) and I'm all about floor in the early part of a draft. Feel free to show me the error of my ways in the comments.

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 28 9:00 am
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