Crawford's Dodgers career off to strong start

Crawford's Dodgers career off to strong start

LOS ANGELES -- Carl Crawford is off to a fast start in his first season playing for the Dodgers.

The outfielder made a strong impression in the season-opening three-game series against the Giants. Crawford went 5-for-9 (.556) with a double and two runs as the Dodgers leadoff hitter.

Crawford was acquired from the Red Sox via trade in August, but did not play for the Dodgers due to Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.

Was it important for Crawford to make a good first impression on Dodgers fans this week?

"Good starts never hurt," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think when you're in a new city, it's nice to throw some hits up early so people get to see it a little bit. At the end of the day, he's going to be judged on the whole season. But it is nice to come into a new city with high expectations after being injured, and it's nice for him to have a couple good games to start out."

Elbow and wrist injuries limited Crawford to 31 games in 2012 with the Red Sox.

"I feel totally different this year; last year I was hurt." Crawford said after Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Giants. "I feel much better. My body feels much better."

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