Carl Crawford hasn't played in a game since an April 27th victory over the Giants. In that game, he tripled, then had to leave after the third with a sore right side. That turned out to be a torn oblique, and other than placing him on the 15-day DL, not much has been said about him since.
With the way Scott Van Slyke, Andre Ethier, and Alex Guerrero have performed in his absence, I'm not sure we'll see much of Crawford from here on out.
So, like the title says, if I'm Crawford, I'm very nervous that this is the injury that KO's me from the lineup completely.
At this point, there's really no reason at all to rush Crawford back, or even to make it seem like he's needed at all. That's how well those other three players have performed. Add in the impending return of Yasiel Puig to play right field, and that makes Crawford needed even less.
Van Slyke got the start in left on Monday night, and it's a good thing he did. After Yimi Garcia blew the save in the top of the ninth, Van Slyke launched a walk-off, three-run homer to dead center to defeat the Marlins 5-3. He's played in 20 games, and is hitting .340 with five doubles, two homers, and 12 RBIs. He's strong as a freakin' ox, and his bat brings instant impact.
Guerrero started off the season red hot in any role, cooled off a bit in May, but is still hitting .326 with three doubles, six homers, and 14 RBIs in 21 games. Simply put, Don Mattingly was forced into giving him more time because of his bat.
Ethier has gotten the most playing time of anyone at 28 games, and he's responded very well. Last year was practically a giant waste for him, but so far, he's hitting .286 with three doubles, two triples, four homers, and 10 RBIs. He can put his glove on and play any of the three outfield positions, so he's invaluable in that aspect. It's great to see him contributing again and looking like he's healthy.
You know Joc Pederson and Puig are locked into their positions, and rightfully so. They can do it big on both sides of the field, and considering all of the pitching injuries the Dodgers have suffered, they need to play the best defense they can night in and night out. Barring huge slumps, those two will be etched in stone in the daily lineup card.
That leaves three other guys Donny will mix and match with for left field. Ethier has a documented history of poor results against left-handed pitchers, so he'll be looked at against righties only. Van Slyke and Guerrero can get looks when lefties are on the mound for the most part. However, I would hope Donny would play the hot hand no matter who's on the mound.
And that leaves Crawford on the outside looking in. At this point, he just needs to get his legs fully healthy, then contribute as a pinch-runner in late innings. That's not to say he'll never see left field again, but it's hard to imagine him getting much time there. The other guys have leapfrogged him.
Who knows what the future will hold, but considering how well Van Slyke, Guerrero, and Ethier have played, I doubt it will include Crawford regaining his starting role in left.