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Report: Carl Crawford will be on bench upon return to Dodgers

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

After using a rotation to fill the three outfield spots to begin the season, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has finally found a steady combination that works. And unfortunately for veteran Carl Crawford -- who is set to rejoin the team this week after injuring his ankle in May -- that means he's the odd man out. 

In Crawford's absence, Mattingly has settled into a daily outfield of Matt Kemp in left, Andre Ethier in center, and Yasiel Puig in right, and said Wednesday that he's "not really planning any big changes," reports the Los Angeles Times

That leaves left fielder Crawford, who is in his 13th season in the majors, on the outside looking in. 

"Everybody is happier," Mattingly said. "They don't have to come to the ballpark looking for the lineup card"[ ...] "Carl happened to be the one who got hurt." 

The Dodgers outfield juggling act earlier in the season had been problematic for the players involved, specifically Matt Kemp, who had said before the season that he's "not going to be a fourth outfielder." Kemp had been benched for five games right before Crawford hurt his ankle, but moved to left field at that point and, as noted by the Times, has batted .289 since. 

MORE MLB: Have teams figured out Tanaka? | Dodgers' Puig will participate in Home Run Derby

Crawford was hitting .267 with four home runs and 18 RBI in 44 games before he went on the disabled list. 

— Molly Geary

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