Crawford, Kemp continue to make steady progress

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's still more than three weeks until Opening Day and that's a good thing for the Dodgers, as Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford will need it.

Kemp went 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts Saturday and is now hitless in 11 at-bats with five strikeouts since left shoulder surgery.

"He just needs time," said manager Don Mattingly. "Have to give him at-bats. He's coming off pretty good surgery. He's a little bit behind guys. He's not been able to get after it. Got to look at him as still behind, but he'll catch up. It's a matter of timing, nothing but at-bats."

Crawford, after taking a week off to calm down nerve irritation in his left elbow, is increasing his workload daily since resuming hitting Thursday. He's hit off a tee, off soft toss and a little overhand. The medical department is increasing his drills methodically to avoid, or pinpoint the cause of, any recurrence in the discomfort that is not unusual for Tommy John surgery.

The calendar, however, is working against Crawford in his goal to be ready for Opening Day, as he hasn't resumed throwing yet and will need some period of time before he's strong enough to make a throw in from left field without risking overuse in the process.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.