03/18/2013 7:59 PM ET
Hits aside, Crawford's arm impresses Mattingly
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carl Crawford had his first two hits and first two RBIs as a Dodger in Monday's exhibition loss to the D-backs, but it was Crawford's throwing arm that had Don Mattingly excited.
Yes, his throwing arm, the one that was surgically reattached at the elbow during last summer's Tommy John surgery.
"Actually -- that part was good to see, getting a couple hits under his belt -- but even better was his throwing," said the Dodgers manager. "Stan [Conte, vice president of medical services] was working on cut[offs], and he had a lot on the ball. That's really positive."
General manager Ned Colletti said at this point, barring any setbacks, he believes Crawford will be able to start the season on the active roster. Crawford has been leading off as the designated hitter the past two days, an indication that he'll be leading off in Mattingly's regular-season lineup.
The Dodgers figure that for Crawford to play the outfield, he needs to throw 125 feet to hit the shortstop cutoff man. Crawford said he's been rehabbing around the 75-80-foot mark, but was up to 90 feet Monday.
"The goal at some point is to hit the cutoff," Crawford said. "Dee [Gordon, Monday's shortstop] knows he has to dig, or whoever's at short."
Flu-ridden Beckett throws in simulated game instead
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Josh Beckett didn't start for the Dodgers Monday, but he did pitch.
Sapped from several days of the flu, Beckett was wary about starting their team's game against Arizona, but he didn't want to veer off-schedule in his build-up toward Opening Day.
So the compromise was for Beckett to pitch a simulated game with a trio of Minor League batters and teammate Jerry Hairston.
Beckett threw 76 pitches and went through the up-and-down of six innings, pitching and resting in between.
"Everything went good," manager Don Mattingly reported. "He got better as the game went on. He was happy about being able to get it in. He was worried that if he did it in a [Cactus League] game and he had a long inning, he wouldn't get his pitch count up and the up-and-downs. He seemed to be happy with it."
With Beckett scratched, Mattingly used all relievers against the D-backs, beginning with former starter Josh Wall, who allowed one run in two innings. Peter Moylan allowed two runs in one inning, Paco Rodriguez pitched two innings and allowed a long home run to Paul Goldschmidt, and Shawn Tolleson was the cleanest, with two strikeouts in a perfect inning.
Tolleson said he had no residual effects from his last outing Friday, when he took a line drive off his pitching elbow.
Dodgers reassign Gwynn, Castillo; release Castro
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers reassigned outfielder Tony Gwynn and catcher Wilkin Castillo and released catcher Ramon Castro on Monday.
Gwynn said he's known his days were numbered since the acquisitions last year of outfielders Carl Crawford and Skip Schumaker.
"It is what it is," Gwynn said Sunday after talking to manager Don Mattingly. "I think they know that I know I don't belong in the Minor Leagues. But that's the way the roster shakes out unless there's a trade, and I hold out hope for that.
"Donnie's done a good job of being respectful and so has Ned [Colletti]. I have nothing but respect for those guys. Would I like it to go differently? Most definitely."
Gwynn has a guaranteed salary of $1.15 million this year, the final season of a two-year deal.
Bruised by comebacker, Withrow out a couple of days
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Former first-round pick Chris Withrow, whose spring debut was delayed three weeks by back spasms, finally got in a game Sunday only to be injured when the second batter lined a shot off his left shin.
Withrow escaped with a bruise from the Paul Goldschmidt shot, and he said he expects to be back in action in a couple of days.
"It's been a pretty adventurous spring," said Withrow. "I came in ready to go. For my back to go out the second day was kind of frustrating. Then the second batter, after seven months off, that's not ideal either. Things happen for a reason."
Things were adventurous for Withrow even before Spring Training started. He and his wife survived an offseason rollover auto accident with only minor injuries.
Withrow, drafted in 2007 as a starter, is making the transition to reliever. He was the third Dodgers pitcher to be hit on comebackers on consecutive days, with Clayton Kershaw being struck on the left Achilles on Saturday and Shawn Tolleson on the right elbow Friday.
Dodgers players tape video segments for lineup intros
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New ownership is putting much effort into enhancing the fan experience at Dodger Stadium, including enlisting the participation Monday of several players to tape segments that will be included in opening video scenes before pregame lineup introductions.
Turning the visiting clubhouse at Camelback Ranch into a makeshift studio, a production crew directed Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and a handful of their teammates through poses and action shots that will also become elements of televised commercials.
"It was cool," said Ethier. "It's nice to see the effort going in to get some hype and energy at the start of the game. They are really trying to create a type of buzz and excitement to get the game underway. I like it. Get the place buzzing, get the energy going and turn it into a bigger home-field advantage."
Crawford said he isn't normally the showbiz type, but admitted it was fun and said it's all part of the Los Angeles experience.
"I'm dipping into some hidden talent," he said of his acting. "No rehearsal. I'm a natural. It's Hollywood. I've got to make adjustments to that, too."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.