GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Carl Crawford was nervous about his first appearance in a Dodgers uniform - and a green one at that.
He had hoped it would happen earlier in spring training, but nerve irritation in his surgically repaired left elbow on March 1 put his Los Angeles debut on hold.
Crawford finally got in the lineup on St. Patrick's Day, going 0 for 3 as the designated hitter as a Dodgers split squad beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-1 on Sunday.
The numbers didn't matter much to him; being back on the field was the only thing that counted. Crawford had not appeared in a game since Aug. 19 with the Boston Red Sox.
``It's just nice to be back,' said Crawford, who had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 23, two days before the Dodgers obtained him from Boston in a blockbuster trade. ``I felt good. But my nerves were racing a little bit.'
Crawford flied out to center and twice grounded out to shortstop. It's still not clear when he'll be ready to play left field. He continues to test his arm in throwing drills.
``Carl's good, Carl's fine,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``It's all about getting the process going on this side, the major league side. He's been getting at_bats on the minor league side. With each one of his at_bats, you can tell he's really focused. At this point, he knows he doesn't have much time. He's got to make every at-bat count.'
Crawford still hopes to be ready for opening day April 1 against World Series champion San Francisco at Dodger Stadium.
``I'm definitely trying to make it back by opening day,' he said. ``It's something I'd like to do.'
Adrian Gonzalez, acquired from Boston in the same trade along with pitcher Josh Beckett, hit a three-run homer off Yovani Gallardo in the first and a two-run homer in the fifth against Brad Kintzler. Mark Ellis also homered in the inning.
Both drives by the left-handed-hitting Gonzalez went to left field.
``That's where my swing should go,' he said. ``Hopefully, I can carry that over into the regular season.'
Gallardo, Gonzalez's teammate with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, said he gave up the first-inning home run on a slider.
``I let that pitch get up there,' said Gallardo, who gave up three runs and five hits in two innings. ``You can't do that, especially against a guy like Adrian.'
Los Angeles starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out six and walking two.
``I'm getting better every day,' the South Korean left-hander said through a translator. ``I threw 88-90 pitches, something like that. After two more outings, I'll be up to 110, which means I'll be ready for the season.'
NOTES: The Dodgers optioned pitcher Javy Guerra to the minor leagues. Guerra appeared in three spring games, giving up two hits over 2 2-3 innings. Guerra had been competing for a spot in the bullpen. ``He was just a little bit behind,' Mattingly said. ... The Dodgers wore green caps and jerseys for St. Patrick's Day. ... Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' scheduled opening-day starter, said he felt some soreness in his left Achilles tendon. Kershaw was hit by David Murphy's comebacker Saturday during a start against Texas. The left-hander didn't run Sunday, but he did his usual work in the weight room.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved