Carl Crawford #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a three run home-run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of the game at Chase Field on May 17, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Carl Crawford hit a couple of home runs to right field and smoked line drives the other way into the left-center field gap during an early batting practice session Monday at Dodger Stadium, in a show that his injured left ankle continues to heal well since he sprained it May 27.
“When I took swings today it felt pretty good,” Crawford said. “So, I’m just trying to keep making progress day to day.”
The Dodgers outfielder believes he’s healing faster than expected.
“I just haven’t put on spikes and dug in the ground and run yet. That’ll be the last challenge for me but once I get over that I’ll be good,” Crawford said.
He was tailing a ball hit into the left field corner when his left ankle buckled on the cut out of the warning track in that May 27th game against the Cincinnati Reds.
The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the 32-year-old. Before he got hurt Crawford was playing himself into the everyday left field spot that manager Don Mattingly said many times had yet to be filled. In 22 games in May he had a .333 batting average, four homers, 14 RBIs and showed he can run by stealing five bases.
Mattingly said he liked what he saw during Crawford’s batting session Monday. But, the always diplomatic manager kept it coy when asked if the outfielder, who is on the 15-day disabled list, would be ready to return when eligible.
“I don’t want to jump out there and make decisions for him, because then it’s a setback if he doesn’t make it,” Mattingly said. “But at day six we feel a lot better about him having a chance to make it back at 15 (days) than we did in day two.”
In Crawford’s absence, Matt Kemp has seen most of the action in left field. If it becomes a platoon situation between the two, once Crawford returns it would likely be the most expensive left-field platoon in baseball history, with their combined contracts of $302 million.