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Carl Crawford Faces Live In-Game Pitching for First Time as Dodger

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Carl Crawford Faces Live In-game Pitching for First Time as Dodger
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Carl Crawford takes a swing during his second at-bat on March 14 in his first live game action in mo …

COMMENTARY | GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford was the designated hitter for six plate appearances in an exhibition minor-league game on March 14 -- the first time he's faced live, in-game pitching since being acquired by the team in August.

Crawford had three plate appearance against Meiji University -- a Japanese university -- and three against Dodger minor-league pitchers.

Crawford struck out swinging in his first at-bat. He would double in his next against Dodger right-hander Sean White. The Meiji University bench erupted, playfully, with cheers after the double. He would follow those first two plate appearances with back-to-back singles. He would fly out in the following plate appearance before drawing a walk in his last against Dodgers' prospect Jonathan Martinez.

Crawford went 3-for-5 with a double, two singles, a walk, a flyout, a strikeout and two meaningless stolen bases.

For not having played professional baseball for roughly seven months, it was a solid sign for the outfielder coming off Tommy John surgery. He was understandably rusty, especially in his first at-bat against the Japanese left-handed starter.

Crawford is still an extreme longshot in my eyes to start the season with the big club, especially since it's March 14 and he's yet to play the field and really test his surgically repaired elbow. He doesn't need to throw like Vladimir Guerrero to be successful in left field, but it'd be preferable if he threw better than Juan Pierre.

No word on when Crawford will face game action again, but it's safe to assume he could DH again tomorrow.

So far, so good for Crawford. He'll need to make significant progress in the coming weeks if he's to play anytime before May.

Dustin Nosler has followed the Dodgers from Northern California all his life. He's the founder of Feelin' Kinda Blue, a Dodger blog. He also co-hosts "Dugout Blues," a weekly Dodger podcast. Find him on Twitter @FeelinKindaBlue.

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