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Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts looking for production from left fielders

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts looking for production from left fielders
The Dodgers still owe former All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford $35 million. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In the wake of Andre Ethier's broken leg, five Dodgers took turns in left field during the first five weeks of the season. As a group, they have been one of the least productive units in baseball, entering Wednesday's game against the New York Mets ranked 26th with a collective .607 on-base percentage.

Manager Dave Roberts chose Carl Crawford to play left Wednesday. He opted for Crawford, a left-handed hitter, over Trayce Thompson, a right-handed hitter. Thompson hit a walk-off home run Tuesday night, but the Dodgers preferred a left-handed hitter against right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard and his triple-digit fastball.

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Roberts sounded annoyed when asked if he was solely reliant on analytics for in-game decisions.

"There's things that I do every single night that go against 'the Book,' or whatever," Roberts said. "I'm mindful that every game is a different game. Although momentum is important, and rhythm certainly is important, but a streak or momentum is based on the next day's starting pitcher."

And so the Dodgers offered Crawford another opportunity to revive his season. He entered the game with a .190 average. He chalked up his slow start to the reality of his part-time status, which he said makes finding a rhythm at the plate more difficult.

"This is just the way it goes for me, when you're not playing every day," Crawford said before the game. "You have to just keep going and keep grinding it out. You don't have the luxury of getting into a groove. You have to just play, and over time, it seems to get better."

Injuries to Ethier and Scott Van Slyke (lower back irritation) dashed the team's initial plan for left field. Neither player is particularly close to a return. Ethier is still wearing a brace for his fractured right tibia. And Van Slyke is at least two weeks from starting a rehabilitation assignment, Roberts said.

Ryu's rehab

Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) will face live hitters in a simulated game early next week, Roberts said. The next step is starting a rehabilitation assignment about a week after he clears the last simulated hurdle.

Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

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