In the first couple of weeks of the season, the home runs came in bunches for the Dodgers. So did the victories.
And now? Injuries.
Carl Crawford became the fourth Dodger to land on the 15-day disabled list in the last three days, as an MRI exam Tuesday revealed a torn oblique muscle on the right side of his torso.
With Yasiel Puig also on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, two-thirds of the opening-day outfield was unavailable to play in the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.
On Monday, starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy said he was expecting to undergo an elbow operation that would sideline him until the middle of next season. Puig and reliever Joel Peralta landed on the disabled list Sunday.
Injured or not, the left-handed-hitting Crawford was unlikely to play Tuesday, at least not with left-hander Madison Bumgarner pitching for the Giants. Rookie center fielder Joc Pederson, another left-handed hitter, was also out of the lineup.
When Clayton Kershaw scaled the mound for the Dodgers, there was an entirely right-handed-hitting outfield behind him, with Enrique Hernandez in center field, Alex Guerrero in left and Scott Van Slyke in right.
A 24-year-old utilityman who was acquired as part of an off-season trade with the Miami Marlins, Hernandez was promoted from triple-A Oklahoma City to replace Crawford on the active roster.
Hernandez hit six home runs in the exhibition season, which was tied for the most on the team, but was batting only .169 at triple A.
Hernandez was called up instead of Chris Heisey, who received a one-day promotion last week, to face Bumgarner.
By spending 14 more days in the major leagues, Heisey would have five years of service time, at which point he would have the right to decline a minor league assignment. Until then, the Dodgers can move Heisey back and forth from Oklahoma City.
Crawford said he didn’t know how long he would be sidelined.
Oblique muscle injuries generally take about a month to heal, but Crawford could be out for longer than that, as he described his as severe.
“It’s pretty bad,” he said. “It’s a bad tear.”
Crawford believes he was injured on the swing that produced his second-inning triple Monday night. He was removed from the game an inning later.
“Right now, I can’t even cough, sneeze and stuff like that, without it hurting,” he said.
Crawford said he received a cortisone injection.
“Hopefully, we can speed it up,” he said.
This marks the fifth consecutive season in which Crawford has spent time on the disabled list.
“I was hoping not to get hurt again,” he said. “I know it’s like a broken record, going back to the DL.”
However, the Dodgers had some positive medical news to report.
Closer Kenley Jansen pitched to hitters for the first time since he underwent a foot operation in February, clearing the way for him to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Friday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Jansen was told that his final pitch was clocked at 96 mph.
“I felt great,” Jansen said.
Jansen said he expects to pitch six or seven innings in the minor leagues before he is activated. He said he was told to refrain from covering first base until the end of his rehabilitation assignment.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is also close to starting a minor league rehabilitation assignment, Manager Don Mattingly said.
Ryu threw off a mound for the second time since he was shut down in mid-March because of shoulder inflammation.
Ryu, who threw 25 pitches, is scheduled for another bullpen session Friday. The step after that could be to pitch to hitters.
Ryu was sidelined twice last season because of a similar problem, but said he has incorporated shoulder exercises in his training program to prevent that from happening again.
Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter @dylanohernandez