Carl Crawford returns to Los Angeles for MRI on sprained left ankle.

Carl CrawfordDodgers left fielder Carl Crawford has returned to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Crawford’s rehab from a sprained left ankle recently stalled at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona to the point where he could no longer hit or run.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Crawford underwent an MRI on his ankle but the team hasn’t announced the results or updated Crawford’s diagnosis.

“I’m not quite sure where the setback came,” Mattingly said. “He was running pretty well a couple weeks ago.”

Crawford sprained the ankle May 27 and has been on the 15-day disabled list since.

After early progress, Carl Crawford’s rehab ‘stuck’ in Arizona.

When Carl Crawford sprained his ankle May 27, the initial estimate was that he would be back in the Dodgers’ lineup by now.

Instead, he’s still rehabbing in Arizona.

“It seems like Carl’s kind of hit that plateau where he’s kind of gotten stuck,” manager Don Mattingly said Sunday. “He didn’t play yesterday. We’re not progressing. Right now, we have no plans for him playing rehab games or anything else.”
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With Carl Crawford improving, Don Mattingly is mum on Matt Kemp’s future.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp has started the Dodgers’ last eight games in left field. (Associated Press)

Carl Crawford took a few steps closer to rejoining the Dodgers. They were quick steps, too, which is encouraging.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Crawford is about 80-85 percent healthy in his recovery from a sprained left ankle that landed him on the disabled list May 28. Mattingly couldn’t say for certain, but “we’re hoping he’ll be ready when he’s due to come off. I think it’s the last game of the Cincinnati series (June 12).”

Once that happens, what will happen to Matt Kemp?

Kemp, who is struggling with a career-low .243 batting average and has just four hits in his past 34 at-bats, has been spelling Crawford in left. It figures once Crawford is ready to play, Kemp will be the odd man out.

Mattingly wouldn’t go there. Actually, he wouldn’t go anywhere with it.

“We don’t have to talk about that now,” he said. “I don’t want to right now.”

What about a platoon situation with Crawford and Kemp?

“I’m not thinking about any of that right now,” said Mattingly, who said his current thinking was centered more on how his team can put together some victories.

“I’m clearly focused on that,” he said.

Dodgers purchase Jamie Romak’s contract from Triple-A, place Carl Crawford on 15-day DL.

Prepare for a Canadian invasion when the Dodgers host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

New Dodgers third baseman Jamie Romak waited almost 11 years from the time he was drafted until the time he was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster Wednesday. A veteran of 1,069 minor-league games, Romak joined the Dodgers on Wednesday as Carl Crawford was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle.

After such a long wait to reach the major leagues, what’s a little flight from London, Ontario, Canada to Los Angeles for Romak’s wife? Or his mom, sister, brother and friends?

“Once it sunk in it was really emotional,” the 28-year-old said. “I called my wife, my mom and she started crying. I started tearing up. Everything you wish it would be.”
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Carl Crawford leaves Dodgers’ game against Cincinnati with a sprained left ankle. Update.

Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford limps off the field after suffering a sprained left ankle in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Carl Crawford sprained his left ankle in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ game against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. The 32-year-old rolled the ankle on the turf while fielding Chris Heisey‘s double into the left-field corner. He had to be helped off the field by head athletic trainer Stan Conte and was replaced by Scott Van Slyke.

A picture of Crawford’s ankle as the injury occurred can be found here.

Update (11:15 p.m.): Crawford said he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.

“I think it’s going to take a while,” he said.

The injury is severe enough that Crawford entered the Dodgers’ clubhouse after the game in a wheelchair. He then limped into the showers and came back to his locker wearing a protective boot.
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Matt Kemp and Don Mattingly are still at odds over the outfielder’s health.

Matt Kemp

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who hasn’t started since May 22, insists that he’s healthy. (Getty Images)


Matt Kemp, who hasn’t started since Thursday and isn’t starting today, insists he’s healthy.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly isn’t so sure.

Therein lies the basis for a closed-door meeting Saturday between the two that didn’t thrill Kemp. Who would be thrilled to learn they’re being benched?

Asked Monday if the meeting was helpful or productive, Kemp said, “yeah, any meeting can be productive. He told me what he planned on doing. It is what it is.”

So what is the plan?
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Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford isn’t on the National League All-Star ballot.

Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford is batting .222/.231/.317 in 18 games this season. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford has appeared in 18 games this season, more than all but six of his teammates. In 2009, he was the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star game.

This year, Crawford is not even on the ballot.

Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig are the three Dodgers outfielders represented on the ballot released this morning.

The rest of the Dodgers’ representatives followed a predictable order: Adrian Gonzalez (first base), Dee Gordon (second base), Hanley Ramirez (shortstop), Juan Uribe (third base) and A.J. Ellis (catcher).

The game will be played at Target Field in Minneapolis on July 15. Designated hitters are allowed for both leagues’ lineups at the All-Star game, and the Dodgers will have that luxury when they visit the Twins for an interleague series next week. There is a good chance that all four outfielders will be in the starting lineup then.

However, Crawford wasn’t on the list of eight names the Dodgers submitted to the league at the beginning of the season.

Voters are allowed to cast up to 25 ballots. Crawford can still be included on the ballot as a write-in candidate but his odds are especially slim. Crawford is batting .211 with a .231 on-base percentage, poor for any hitter — especially one who regularly bats first or second. He’s stolen four bases, but none since April 9.

All four outfielders are struggling at the plate by their own standards. Puig is hitting .254/.338/.437, Kemp .211/.297/.456 and Ethier .194/.247/.284.

Matt Kemp isn’t in the Dodgers’ starting lineup, but Don Mattingly says it wasn’t an easy call.

Below are the career statistics for the Dodgers’ outfielders against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. Who would you sit?

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG
Andre Ethier 25 22 6 2 0 2 7 3 1 .273 .360 .636 .996 0 0 0 0 1
Matt Kemp 15 15 6 0 0 0 1 0 3 .400 .400 .400 .800 0 0 0 0 0
Yasiel Puig 6 6 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 .833 .833 1.333 2.167 0 0 0 0 1
Carl Crawford 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Total 119 111 35 9 1 3 16 6 11 .315 .361 .495 .857 0 0 1 2 7

Unfortunately, your answer doesn’t count because you don’t fill out the lineup card. Don Mattingly does, and he chose to bench Matt Kemp. The question of why led Mattingly down a lengthy rabbit hole about the future of the Dodgers’ so-called “four outfielder problem.”

“Every day, this is really a bit of a problem for the most part,” Mattingly said. “This was not easy because Matt’s done pretty decent. So has Yasiel. All the guys I thought were pretty good. Just trying to do the best we can with it. … There will come a day when … where we’re going to put what we think is our best club.”

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Daily Distractions: Dodgers don’t make good rangers, among other problems in the field.

Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed one of two Dodger errors in a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photographer)

Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford wasn’t sure he could get to Carlos Ruiz‘s fly ball in the 10th inning Tuesday. There are two problems with this.

One, Crawford was able to get to the ball. (Check out the clip.) Ultimately he failed to recognize this and call off his shortstop, Hanley Ramirez.

Two, the reason Crawford didn’t know that he could get to the ball is because he has poor range for a left fielder. He basically admitted it afterwards, saying, “I didn’t think it was clearly my ball. That’s a long run for me.”

So if we’re really going to analyze the fielding woes that doomed the Dodgers in their 3-2 loss to Philadelphia last night, it’s not as simple as logging the number of errors (for the record, they have made errors in five straight games, a total of eight in that span). The best defensive metrics are never that simple.

What do the complicated metrics say?

FanGraphs’ Range Runs statistic measures the number of runs above or below average a fielder is, as determined by how the fielder is able to get to balls hit in his vicinity. Range Runs says that the Dodgers have four above-average fielders at their positions (among regulars): Yasiel Puig in right field (+2.3 runs), Juan Uribe at third (+2.2), Andre Ethier in center (+1.4) and even Crawford in left — albeit barely (+0.3).

Ethier has been below average this season when he shifts to right field (-0.5), as is Dee Gordon at second base (-0.2), Adrian Gonzalez at first base (-0.6), Hanley Ramirez at shortstop (-0.8) and Matt Kemp in center, by quite a bit (-2.0).

Translating that 2 into layman’s terms: The average center fielder has enough range to prevent two more runs from scoring than Kemp, and we’re less than a month into the season. That might be fine, except that Ethier and Crawford don’t offer much range in left and right, respectively. With Kemp in center, no wonder Puig acts like the only fielder capable of overcoming the limited range of literally every player around him — he is.

Maybe that’s why Kemp feels compelled to call off Puig on fly balls hit within 10 feet of him, which he did at one point Monday night.

A team’s fielding percentage tends to fluctuate with mistakes, like the occasional poor throw. Even Mark Ellis makes an occasional poor throw. Puig, for what it’s worth, hasn’t been charged with an error this season.

Range, however, is more fixed. So long as the body parts responsible for running are healthy — Crawford, Kemp, Ethier, Ramirez, Gonzalez and Gordon fall in this category — it’s unfair to expect significant improvement in their range. If anything, ordinary wear and tear might restrict their range further as the season goes on.

So it’s fairly safe to say the Dodgers have a range problem. Monday, Crawford complicated things by underestimating even his own range and not calling off Ramirez on a ball that should have been his.

It was a tough play to watch, and there will probably be more of those in the future.

Some bullet points for a Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day:
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Josh Beckett thrives, Matt Kemp struggles, in Dodgers’ latest minor-league spring training game.

Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett threw three shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs on March 15 before leaving with a right thumb contusion. (Associated Press photo)

Josh Beckett threw four mostly successful innings against the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A club at Camelback Ranch on Thursday. It was his first appearance since being pulled from a Cactus League start against the Chicago Cubs on March 15 with a contusion on his right thumb.

The right-hander allowed six hits and one earned run, walked one and struck out four. He threw 52 pitches, 39 for strikes. Beckett was said to have used his curveball well, a pitch that gave him trouble in his last start because of the thumb injury.

Playing in the same game, Matt Kemp continued his struggles at the plate as he returns from off-season ankle surgery. Kemp went 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts. Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford was 3-for-3 with a home run and two hard singles to left field. He played five innings in left field and was caught stealing.

Brandon League pitched in a Double-A game at home against Cincinnati and allowed one home run in 1 ⅓ innings. League threw 18 pitches, 12 for strikes, walked none and struck out none.