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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Crawford given day off, Puig bats leadoff

By Arash Markazi

LOS ANGELES -- Carl Crawford said earlier this week that he badly wanted to beat the Boston Red Sox in each of their three games.

After playing a key role in Friday’s win, he’ll be watching from the dugout as the Dodgers go for the second win Saturday.

Crawford was given the day off Saturday against left-handed pitcher Jon Lester. Manager Don Mattingly let Crawford know his decision when Crawford arrived in the clubhouse before the game. Crawford is 9-for-40 in his career against Lester with 13 strikeouts and is hitting .238 against left-handers this season.

“I visited with him before I posted [the lineup],” Mattingly said. “I want to take care of Carl from the standpoint of him being healthy the rest of the year. I’m sure he wants to play. He wants to play all the time, but it’s kind of my job to make sure I give these guys the best chance to stay healthy. We found out with Carl if you go too many days in a row then something ends up ailing him.”

Crawford was on the disabled list for a little more than a month this summer with a left hamstring strain and has also experienced back stiffness, which caused him to be scratched last month. Mattingly has talked to Crawford about easing up on the number of swings he takes during batting practice and on pushing himself physically when the Dodgers aren’t playing.

“Carl is such a hard worker,” Mattingly said. “He works so hard that we feel sometimes he works himself with too many swings. He’s doing too much. We’ve talked to him about being able to back off and also to be comfortable.”

Yasiel Puig, who is batting .342 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs in 71 games, will bat leadoff Saturday in place of Crawford.

“He likes to hit leadoff,” Mattingly said. “I felt like a little bit of difference for him would be good. If Yasiel is on it gives him a chance to run. It’s a little bit of a change since Carl’s not there. It’s just something different for him to think about today.”

Here are the lineups for Saturday:

Dodgers
1. Yasiel Puig RF
2. Mark Ellis 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. A.J. Ellis C
6. Andre Ethier CF
7. Juan Uribe 3B
8. Jerry Hairston Jr. LF
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu LHP

Red Sox
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Shane Victorino RF
3. Dustin Pedroia 2B
4. Mike Napoli 1B
5. Jonny Gomes LF
6. Stephen Drew SS
7. Will Middlebrooks 3B
8. David Ross C C
9. Jon Lester LHP