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Spring Headlines: Carl Crawford to miss Australia series for birth of child; Braves not looking for reinforcements

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(USA Today)

Baseball is back. As we get closer to the regular season, be sure to stop by The Stew each morning for your daily helping of spring storylines.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to travel to Australia on Sunday night in preparation for their season-opening two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Expected to be missing from that flight, consequentially missing their opening series, is outfielder Carl Crawford, who be will staying back in the States for the birth of his child.

According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, Crawford's fiancée is expected to give birth "any day now," and it's a simple matter of him not wanting to miss out.

"As of right now, it looks like Carl is staying back," manage Don Mattingly said. "The way I understand it, Carl's not going."

The Dodgers and D-Backs will open the season next Saturday and Sunday, which would seemingly give Crawford a couple extra days to catch up. However, with the time change, Crawford wouldn't have enough time to get properly adjusted unless he was on the initial trip. The Dodgers will just plan on going without him, which will open up some early playing time for Mattingly's other outfielders.

"It depends who's pitching. We'll look at the matchups," Mattingly said. "Scott [Van Slyke] would be one of the guys, against the lefty."

Mattingly also acknowledged right-hander Dan Haren won't be on the trip as he battles through a dead arm period. Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke were previously ruled out of the Australia series.

BRAVES WON'T ADD ANOTHER STARTER despite the possibility Brandon Beachy will require Tommy John surgery and be lost for the season. General manager Frank Wren told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal he likes what the team already has with Ervin Santana now in the mix, and plans on getting contributions from ailing pitchers like Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd soon.

"When we get Santana in there, it will move everyone down a notch," Wren said. "Within a couple of weeks, we'll have Minor and Floyd. Then, all of a sudden, we'll have our depth again."

As it stands now, Santana will join Julio Teheran, Freddy Garcia, David Hale and left-hander Alex Wood in the opening day rotation. It's a hodge podge group that suggests the Braves will be in survival mode early rather than contending mode.

PATRICK CORBIN LEAVES START WITH FOREARM STIFFNESS, which could leave the Arizona Diamondbacks scrambling for a new opening day starter. Saturday's start was supposed to be Corbin's final tune up before boarding the plane to Australia. Instead, he was boarding a car and hitching a ride back to Scottsdale for an examination.

According to Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic, D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson doesn't suspect an elbow injury, but left open the possibility that a more in depth exam will turn up a different result.

"We certainly hope it has nothing to do with the elbow," Gibson said. "We'll try and determine that tonight."

Corbin, 24, was an All-Star in 2013, posting a 14-8 record with a 3.41 ERA and 178 strikeouts over 208 1/3 innings last season. Arizona entered the spring hoping he could continue running as their No. 1 starter. Now they'll enter the season hoping he can contribute sooner than later.

A.J. GRIFFIN SHUT DOWN FOR THREE WEEKS after being diagnosed with flexor tendonitis. The A’s were initially concerned Griffin might have structural damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, so this news comes as a huge relief to manager Bob Melvin.

“The MRI showed it’s not a surgical deal at this point,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re relieved to hear that.”

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Griffin had similar tendinitis issues last season and may use platelet-rich plasma therapy as part of his rehab.

The A's are still awaiting word on the status of scheduled opening day starter Jarrod Parker. He's expected to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday to determine the cause of tightness in his forearm. Parker underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009.

Angels starter Joe Blanton on recent adjustments on the mound:

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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