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Carl Crawford to resume training with Dodgers — cautiously

The Dodgers plan to go slowly with the outfielder, who had elbow surgery in August and stopped practicing last week after experiencing nerve irritation.

March 06, 2013|By Kevin Baxter

PHOENIX — Carl Crawford is scheduled to start swinging a bat again Thursday, but his availability for opening day remains in doubt.

The outfielder, who underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in August, had expected to begin Cactus League play last week. But minor nerve irritation in his left forearm forced the Dodgers to shut him down for a week.

And the team said it intends to proceed cautiously with Crawford's comeback, having him begin by hitting off a tee in the batting cage. If he can do that without pain, he will progress to other baseball activities, including live batting practice and light throwing.

"He'll be monitored. He'll be kind of more on a rehab program," Manager Don Mattingly said. "If we don't have trouble in one area, then we can keep moving to the next area. If something flares up, we want to know what's causing it.

"So it will be cautious at first."

Ryu, Kemp, Ethier impress

Whatever lingering doubts the Dodgers had about South Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu were probably alleviated — at least a bit — when the left-hander struck out five of the nine batters he retired Wednesday in a 4-0 Cactus League loss to the Cleveland Indians.

In the other split-squad game at Camelback Ranch, Matt Kemp drove in his first two runs of the spring on fielder's choice grounders and Andre Ethier hit a majestic first-inning home run with Kemp aboard in a 10-2 win over Mexico's World Baseball Classic team.

Ryu went three-plus innings, giving up two runs and three hits while walking one. But he was dominant in the second inning, when he struck out the side — all on called third strikes.

"I liked it," Mattingly said. "He was able to throw the fastball, looked like he threw it where he wanted. Every once in a while, you could tell he was missing a spot and he knew he missed it. But he flipped that slow curveball in there, he used the slider today, the changeup to get back in counts. I thought he was good."

Illness sidelines Greinke

Zack Greinke was scratched from his third start of the spring because of what the Dodgers were calling flu symptoms.

Greinke, who signed a six-year, $147-million free-agent contract with the Dodgers in December, skipped a bullpen session Sunday because of tightness in his right forearm. But the Dodgers said that had nothing to do with the pitcher's absence Wednesday, blaming it on illness, which has already forced pitchers Ted Lilly and Paco Rodriguez and infielder Luis Cruz to miss games this spring.

Short hops

Reliever Shawn Tolleson played catch but did not participate in fielding drills a day after coming out of an exhibition game because of a sore left knee. Examinations by the Dodgers medical staff found no soreness or swelling.... Another reliever, right-hander Javy Guerra, was returned to the Dodgers from the Mexican team without pitching an inning. Guerra, a late addition to the Mexican staff, was ruled ineligible for the tournament because he underwent off-season shoulder surgery.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Twitter: @kbaxter11

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