Los Angeles Dodgers 2013: Carl Crawford Replaced in Left Field?

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Los Angeles Dodgers 2013: Carl Crawford Replaced in Left Field?
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Dodgers Outfielder Carl Crawford

According to Kevin Baxter of LATimes.com, Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston Jr. could replace Carl Crawford should his comeback from reconstructive elbow surgery remain stalled.  

If Crawford isn't ready to go by Opening Day, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he'll probably replace him by platooning right-handed-hitting Hairston and the left-handed Schumaker in left field.

"If you're going to ask me today, those two guys — knowing that they're going to be here if they're healthy — that kind of gives me a left-right situation in left field," Mattingly said (per Baxter).

Not a horrible option for the Dodgers, considering they also have nine outfielders in camp this year.  

Yasiel Puig could be an interesting outfield option.  He's having a good spring, but the Dodgers probably won't want to rush his progress.  Alex Castellanos could also be another option, but he could also use some more time in the minors before being brought up.  

For Schumaker and Hairston, this season could give both players an opportunity to prove themselves in a Dodgers lineup that already has quite a bit of proving to do to fans and Major League Baseball in 2013.

"Whatever the team needs," Schumaker said (per Baxter). "You need me in the outfield, great. I'm just kind of geared to let the big boys get healthy. And when they're healthy, then I'd like to sit and watch them play because they're so good."

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The Dodgers recently took the honors for having the highest payroll in the majors this season—with blockbuster moves made last year and during the offseason—and though they look great on paper, they are also an older team with their fair share of injury history.  

Whether or not Schumaker and Hairston Jr. can produce in this lineup, the Dodgers have options and don't need to accelerate Crawford's recovery.

Crawford—when healthy—could very well compete for the National League Comeback Player of the Year award, so why risk further injury when you can get him back in the lineup completely healthy later in the season? 

All I can say is that 2013 will be an interesting year for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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