Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly held outfielder Carl Crawford out of the lineup Wednesday and he plans to do the same with Andre Ethier on Friday, when the team opens a six-game trip in Atlanta.
Only Matt Kemp has played in more games or had more at-bats than Crawford and Ethier, both of whom, the manager said, were in need of a break.
“The [body] language tells you kind of where he’s at. And then you see it on the field in his energy level,” he said. “You can kind of feel it with guys.
“Nobody asks for a day. A lot of times the trainers will say, ‘Hey, this guy’s getting a lot of work done.’ Or the coaches in the cage … will come to me, ‘I’m thinking this guy’s needing a day.’ They hear the chatter. It’s kind of like that whole puzzle you try to figure out all the time.”
And giving a player a breather the day before or the day after a travel day, as Mattingly is doing, can double the recuperative effect.
“If it ends up being a game that we don’t have to use him tonight, then he gets all day tomorrow, the next day we have a night game. So it’s really like three straight days off,” Mattingly said of Crawford, who has been dealing with a tight hamstring in addition to fatigue. “Your legs will really feel good when you get back out of that. And hopefully the same with Andre going the opposite direction.”
To create a roster spot for Wednesday starter Zack Greinke, the Dodgers put right-hander Josh Beckett on the disabled list with a left groin strain. Beckett reportedly was injured covering first base Monday and after the game Mattingly said the pitcher has also been dealing with a series of niggling injuries.
But Beckett declined to say where he was hurt or how much pain he was in, leading to speculation that the decision to give his spot to Greinke had more to do with Beckett’s 0-5 record and 5.19 earned-run average than it did with any injury. Mattingly insisted Wednesday that was not the case.
“From a player’s point of view, they’re not going to make excuses,” he said. “There’s no doubt he’s going on the DL for the groin. He would have kept pitching with the other stuff.”
Beckett is the 11th Dodger — and sixth starting pitcher — to land on the DL in the season’s first six weeks.
No minor issue
Speaking of injured pitchers, left-handers Ted Lilly and Scott Elbert made minor league rehab appearances for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday with Lilly starting and going a rocky five innings in which he gave up four runs, five hits and walked three. Elbert threw one shutout inning in relief, giving up a hit and walking a batter.
The Dodgers have sent five players to Rancho Cucamonga this season, including four pitchers who have combined to throw 27 1/3 innings. Lilly, who has made more starts for the Quakes than he has for the Dodgers this season, left Wednesday’s game having pitched more innings for the minor league squad (16) than 10 pitchers on the team’s roster.
Like a good neighbor…
With their starting rotation racked by injury, the Dodgers signed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league contract. The 30-year-old was 0-3 with an 11.85 ERA in five games with Pittsburgh before being released this month. He is expected to join the Dodgers’ triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque.