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Dodgers’ Carl Crawford Can’t Throw, Hit After Elbow Irritation

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford was restricted from throwing and hitting for a week until nerve irritation from his elbow surgery subsides, the Major League Baseball team said.

Crawford, 31, said the flare-up occurred after he started to face live pitching in batting practice.

The Dodgers acquired Crawford, and his $100 million contract, from Boston two days after he underwent the operation on his left elbow. Manager Don Mattingly planned to use him on Opening Day when the Dodgers likely will have the highest major league payroll ever, topping the Yankees’ $209.1 million mark from 2008.

“This definitely challenges the timing of it,” Mattingly told reporters yesterday. “Instead of having four weeks, we’ll have three. There’s still time. But I’d rather he came back after 10 days or 20 days and have him healthy for a solid 140 games than have him in and out.”

Although Crawford can’t hit or throw, he still can track pitches and run bases, Mattingly said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any panic,” Mattingly said. “We’re still being cautious.”

Crawford said he plans to be ready for the season’s opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 1.

“I understand there’s a chance I might not be ready,” he said. “At the same time, that’s still a goal of mine.”

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