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Carl Crawford striving to be ready

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford isn't ready to rule himself out for Opening Day, even as evidence mounts that such an expedited return is unlikely.

"I haven't accepted that at all," Crawford said Thursday from spring training. "I don't know who's putting that stuff out there, but that's definitely a goal of mine, even with me taking a slow approach. I still have a chance of being ready."

The Dodgers were hopeful Crawford would be ready by April 1, but the team looks at that target date as a long shot now that he had to miss a week of camp with nerve irritation in his surgically repaired left elbow.

There are no immediate plans to get Crawford into his first spring training game, and his work in the batting cage has been limited to hitting 50 balls off a tee under the supervision of one of the Dodgers' trainers.

"I've been there," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's basically missed big parts of two seasons, and that's tough, and he struggled. This is, in a sense, a new beginning for Carl. He'd like to get off on a good foot and show everybody he's going to be ready and all that."