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Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett look improved, Matt Kemp still struggling

The wounded, the recovering and the expectant were all back at it Thursday at the Dodgers’ complex in Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, and the news appeared to be mostly good.

Josh Beckett, who’s not only coming off surgery to remove a rib that was causing numbness in his throwing hand but he then slammed a clubhouse door on his thumb, returned to the mound and allowed one run over four innings, with six hits and a walk. He struck out four in the triple-A game against the Reds.

Beckett came out of his last start six days ago an inning early when his thumb began to bother him. He threw 52 pitches, 39 for strikes. The right-hander is in contention for the fifth spot in the rotation, which the Dodgers can go without until sometime in the middle of April.

Carl Crawford, who had felt something in his shoulder Tuesday and left the game early, and then battled flu-like symptoms Wednesday, returned to action and went three for three with a home run. He played five innings in left. Crawford remained behind because is fiancée is expected to give birth any day.

Matt Kemp continued to play, which was the good news, but continued to struggle at the plate. Kemp, coming off major foot surgery, went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. In his last three camp games, he is 0 for 11 with six strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Reliever Brandon League, who’s been battling it all spring, threw 1 1/3 innings in a double-A game against the Reds, surrendering a run on a solo homer. He did not walk or strike out a batter, and allowed only the one hit.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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