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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carl Crawford’s wait to see game action was a long one. When he finally returned to the lineup, it didn’t take long for him to contribute.
Crawford got two hits and two RBIs in his second appearance in a Dodgers uniform Monday, Josh Beckett was scratched because of the flu and Los Angeles lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3.
After going 0-for-3 in his Dodgers debut Sunday against Milwaukee, Crawford, the designated hitter, singled on a line drive to left in the third inning. In the fifth, he drove in two runs with another single, a shot to center.
“It helps build up the confidence,” said Crawford, who had not appeared in a game since Aug. 19 when he sustained a left-elbow injury that required surgery on Aug. 23, two days before the Dodgers obtained him from the Boston Red Sox.
“Getting up in front of a crowd and all of that is just part of the process of coming back,” he said.
Crawford’s work in spring training was slowed by nerve irritation in the elbow March 1. He was shut down for a week. Crawford resumed batting drills first then he began to throw.
“That part is good to see, him getting a couple of hits,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “I know it makes him feel better. The better part for me was to see him throw. He’s really progressing. He had a lot on the ball today.”
Crawford threw in drills before the game.
“Seventy-five to 80 feet,” said Crawford, who still hopes to be ready for opening day on April 1 against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. “That’s what I’ve been throwing every day. At some point, I’ll hit the cutoff distance. I don’t know how far that is. But that’s the goal.”
Crawford, who is projected to lead off, got his two-run single in the fifth off Arizona starter Randall Delgado.
“I let the ball drift down a little too much on that last pitch to Crawford,” Delgado said. “It should have been up a little bit more. That was a mistake, I think.”
Delgado is in competition with Patrick Corbin for the fifth spot in Arizona’s starting rotation. It had been a three-way race that included left-hander Tyler Skaggs. But the Diamondbacks optioned Skaggs to Triple-A Reno on Monday.
Despite the flu, Beckett still worked, throwing 76 pitches in six innings of a simulated game on a minor league field at Camelback Ranch.
“He was just happy to get it in,” Mattingly said.
The Diamondbacks got one run on four hits, including an RBI single by Eric Hinske in the second, off Josh Wall, who replaced Beckett.
Adam Eaton hit a two-run triple off Dodgers reliever Peter Moylan in the third. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo homer over center field off Paco Rodriguez in the fourth.
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