PHOENIX — While half of his teammates were in the middle of an afternoon game against the San Diego Padres and half of his teammates were getting ready to play the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, Carl Crawford showered.
On Friday, Crawford — shut down by the Los Angeles Dodgers two weeks ago because of nerve irritation in his surgically repaired elbow — played for the second straight day with the Dodgers' minor league teams.
"We're taking it day-by-day right now," said Crawford, 31, who is yet to play a regular-season game in a Dodgers uniform after joining the team last August in that blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox.
Crawford was Tommy John'd in July, ending a 2012 season in which he played only 31 games. In a "cautious" move, manager Don Mattingly hit the brakes this spring when it looked like Crawford might still having lingering issues. Now back in action, Crawford had six at-bats Thursday in an exhibition against Meiji University of Japan, hitting for both teams. He played catch from 60 feet too.
"The game went well," Crawford said. "I swung the bat well. I ran well. So, you know, progressing to the next day."
He said Friday was "similar." Crawford hit for both the Dodgers' Double-A and Triple-A teams, who were playing at the same time. He hopped back and forth between fields. Per Feelin' Kinda Blue: Crawford singled, walked, struck out, flew out to deep left-center and stole a base after a sac bunt.
After Thursday's game, Mattingly sounded encouraged by Crawford's progression. This, per MLB.com's Ken Gurnick:
"It's a good step," said manager Don Mattingly, who said he might ask opponents to reinstate the designated hitter so Crawford can see Major League pitching. He hasn't played in a Cactus League exhibition game yet. "We've talked about it. He needs to get over here."
With opening day still up in the air, Crawford himself didn't say too much Friday about his future. As beat up as he's been in the past two years (he had wrist surgery before the 2012 season), it's probably a pitfall to plan ahead or make any declarations.
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"I don't know about the next few weeks," Crawford said. "I'm just keeping this same pattern right here, listening to the trainers and sticking to the program that they make for me. "
Asked if he thought he'd be able to rejoin the Dodgers for Cactus League games in the next week: "I hope so. That's the goal."
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