The Los Angeles Dodgers are preparing to begin their
exhibition season today, but outfielders Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford aren’t
expected to make their spring debuts until the beginning of March, according to
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
Manager Don Mattingly said March 1 is the “very rough target
date” for Kemp’s return, as he continues to recover from offseason left
shoulder surgery. Crawford’s spring debut won’t come until later in March, as
he’s returning from Tommy John surgery. Mattingly said March 5 or 7 might be a
more realistic target for Kemp.
Even when they join the spring lineup, it may be a while
before Kemp and Crawford take the outfield. Both players are expected to be
used at DH early, with Crawford perhaps requiring more time in a
strictly-hitting role. Mattingly doesn’t want to put Crawford into a position
that he’ll have the opportunity to injure his shoulder during an exhibition game.
Kemp has resumed all baseball activities, while Crawford is
still on a conservative throwing program to rebuild arm strength, according to
Gurnick. The veteran is still hoping to return by Opening Day.
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