Carl Crawford wasn't looking for a day off two days into the season, but he got one anyway Tuesday night.
With the San Francisco Giants starting Madison Bumgarner, a left-hander Crawford has never faced, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sat Crawford, who went 2-for-4 on Opening Day with a double and a run. Jerry Hairston Jr. got the start in left field and in the leadoff spot, and he went 0-for-3.
Crawford popped out in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter.
Mattingly said the decision to sit Crawford wasn't based on trying to avoid the lefty-on-lefty matchup. Instead, it was part of the plan to ease Crawford back into playing every day after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow last August.
Crawford experienced a setback midway through spring training when nerve irritation flared up in his left arm. By the end of the spring, however, he was playing left field on a daily basis, testing his arm in game action for the first time in seven months.
"It's really kind of part of what we wanted to do from the beginning," Mattingly said. "As we talked about building Carl up, nine innings was going to be different and the intensity was going to be different. We were going to try to wean him in."
Mattingly said Crawford would be back in the lineup Wednesday against Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum and should be playing on an everyday basis by next week. The Dodgers' early-season schedule also offers up two off days in the first week, Thursday and next Monday.