Injured outfielder Carl Crawford could be returning to the Dodgers'… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Carl Crawford could return from the disabled list as early as July 5 when the Dodgers open a three-game series in San Francisco.
Crawford has been on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring since June 2. He was batting .301 when he was injured.
Crawford is scheduled to start a four-game minor league rehabilitation assignment Sunday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, according to Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. Ted Lilly, who is sidelined because of a strained neck, is supposed to pitch in that game.
Crawford is expected to be the designated hitter Sunday, play in left field Monday and Tuesday and be the DH again Wednesday.
If he comes out of the four-game assignment without any problems, he will rest Thursday and rejoin the Dodgers for the start of their series against the Giants the next day.
When Crawford returns, the Dodgers will have four players sharing playing time in three outfield positions: Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
As for Lilly, Mattingly was noncommittal when asked if the left-hander would rejoin the rotation when healthy. Lilly said he expects to throw around 80 pitches Sunday.