Dodger outfielder Carl Crawford was proud on the Air Jordan baseball shoes that he wore on Jackie Robinson Day – extremely proud of them. After all, they had the number 42 on them as a tribute to the man who broke baseball’s color barrier. Carl had a blue pair and a white pair and couldn’t decide which ones he wanted to wear on Jackie Robinson Day, so he compromised – he wore one of each. He did so to honor one of the most influential and important people in his life.
The MLB didn’t quite see it that way.
“I got a call from the league and they said that they didn’t like that,” said Crawford. “I don’t know if they are going to fine me or not. I hope not. It was just for one day”
Crawford said that the league also told him that he couldn’t wear the blue shoes – the Dodger Blue ones.
“What’s the difference between these (as he held up the blue Air Jordan shoe that he wore in Monday night’s game) and this one (as he held up a blue Nike baseball shoes from the locker next to his)? It’s not about the brand of shoe, there are guys in here (the Dodger clubhouse) with Nike, New Balance and every other brand of shoe,” added a confused Crawford. “I guess they thought I was trying to draw attention to myself but that wasn’t it at all… I mean, it was Jackie Robinson Day.”
The league may be able to challenge Crawford about his blue and/or white shoes, but there isn’t a thing that they can say about his red hot bat.
“The last two years I didn’t know what my pitch was,” said Crawford about his struggles in Boston. “I’m getting a better understanding of where I’m going to hit the ball and being ready to hit the ball, I guess that has something to do with it.
“The last two or three years I was so out of whack and I would try to swing at everything to get out of the huge slump I was in,” said Crawford. “Now I’m more calm and get ready and recognize the pitch a little better, that’s probably what you guys (the media and fans) are seeing.”
Crawford said that he absolutely loves batting in the leadoff role and he has no desire whatsoever to bat third or fourth in the Dodger line-up.
“That’s how I got into trouble in Boston,” he said. “I want to bat leadoff, that’s what I’m good at and what I want to keep doing.”
Crawford also credits Dodger hitting coach Mark McGwire in helping him with his hot start.
“We talk every day, we talk all the time,” said Crawford in comparing his time with the Dodgers and the Red Sox. “There’s no friction at all.”
But perhaps the best Carl Crawford news pertains to his surgically repaired throwing arm.
“The trainers cleared me today (Tuesday). There’s no limitations, I can start letting it go (throwing all the way to the bases),” said the 31-year-old Dodger left fielder. “Guys knew about my arm and were running on me, it was frustrating (to always have to hit the cutoff man). Now I can let it go, I don’t have any restrictions.”
This was welcome news for Dodger manager Don Mattingly as well.
“He’s been throwing the ball pretty good,” said the Dodger manager. “I just don’t think that he’s been feeling like he should be letting go, so when the trainers tell him it’s okay, I think that makes you feel better as a player that hey it’s time and you can let it loose.”
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Other Dodger news:
- Hanley Ramirez hit off of a tee for the first time on Monday and added soft toss hitting on Tuesday, and though there has been no official word as to when Ramirez will return to the Dodger line-up, he insists that he is way ahead of schedule and that everyone will be “shocked” about when he will return. Mattingly was a little less optimistic about this.
- Mattingly said that there currently is no designated long reliever in the bullpen right now but added that recent arrival Josh Wall was throwing multiple innings at Triple-A Albuquerque and may be used in that role; however, Mattingly was quick to add “We’ll have to piece it together.”
- After Monday night’s blowout loss to the Padres, Mattingly acknowledged that struggling center fielder Matt Kemp is frustrated and is pressing. Mattingly added that he plans to give Kemp a day or two off in the near future but wouldn’t say exactly when.
- Mattingly said that in light of Capuano’s calf strain on Tuesday night, Ted Lilly is the most likely replacement. “His next stop is back here,” said the Dodger manager about Lilly.
- With scheduled days off on Thursday and Monday, the next time a fifth starter would be needed is Wednesday, April 24. Although Capuano says that he will be ready by then, he will more than likely be placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Tuesday night’s game) so that the Dodgers can possibly make a roster move in the event that Capuano needs more time to recover. Capuano is scheduled for an MRI on his injured calf later this week.