7/13/2013 7:27 P.M. ET
Crawford sits out again with sore back
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is still dealing with a sore lower back, and was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game on Saturday.
Crawford said the discomfort is in the lower left side of his back. He was unavailable on Friday, but was available off the bench on Saturday.
"Yesterday was painful for me," Crawford said before Saturday's game against the Rockies. "The last two days were really painful. But I took some medication and it knocked out a lot of the pain. I feel a lot better today. My back is still sore right now, but it changes once you get loose."
Crawford had an MRI exam on Saturday, but manager Don Mattingly said "it doesn't sound like anything significant."
Crawford is 2-for-25 since returning from the disabled list July 5 after missing 30 games with a left hamstring strain. He was hitting .301 before going on the DL, but his average has dropped to .274. Crawford tried to break out of his slump by spending extra time in the batting cage.
"For some reason I was scuffling, wasn't seeing the ball as well," Crawford said. "I wasn't hitting the ball the same. That's why I try to ramp up and do as much as I do to get back to how I was hitting the ball.
Mattingly believes the extra swings contributed to Crawford's back issues.
"Carl works really hard, and sometimes that's a detriment," Mattingly said. "He kind of ran himself right into the ground."
Crawford said he's still learning how to change his routine after a few injury-plagued seasons.
"It's just always been the way I've done things," Crawford said. "I've got to learn to scale back, but still do the things I need to do to get ready."
On the positive side, Crawford said his surgically repaired left elbow has not given him any issues.
"I'm not thinking about it, and that's important for me," Crawford said. "It feels normal again."
M. Ellis leaves game in eighth with leg injury
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis was removed from Saturday's game against the Rockies in the bottom of the eighth inning after fouling a ball off his leg.
After fouling off the pitch from Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood, Ellis swung at the next offering and reached on an error by first baseman Jordan Pacheco. Ellis limped to first base, and after a brief conversation with assistant athletic trainer Nancy Patterson, Ellis was removed in favor of pinch-runner Nick Punto.
"I had Nancy ask him if he could score if he had to run and that's when he said he didn't know if he would be able to get going right there," manager Don Mattingly said after the Dodgers won, 1-0. "We'll see where he's at tomorrow."
Sunday is the Dodgers' final game before getting four days off during the All-Star break.
Sore hip forces Puig to bench vs. Rockies
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, nursing a bruised left hip, was out of the lineup on Saturday against the Rockies after playing through the injury for over a week.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was unsure if Puig would be available off the bench.
"He has some tightness in that area and we just don't want to take any chances with him," Mattingly said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow."
Puig said his hip has bothered him since he slammed his left leg into the right-field fence in Colorado on July 3. The rookie remained in the lineup until Saturday. He aggravated the injury on Thursday and was removed after seven innings. Puig did enough before Friday's game to convince management he could play, but had a noticeable limp and was pulled after four innings.
"He can't try to be a hero and try to play if he can't really play," Mattingly said.
In just one week, the Dodgers outfield has been hampered by injuries. In addition to Puig, Carl Crawford has a sore lower back that's kept him out of the lineup four straight games and Matt Kemp went on the disabled list Monday with a shoulder issue.
"All of a sudden I went from four outfielders last week in San Francisco, to one [Andre Ethier]," Mattingly said. "That's not really what we envisioned."
Ethier started in center Saturday, with Jerry Hairston Jr. in left field and Skip Schumaker in right.
• Sunday is Yasiel Puig T-shirt day at Dodger Stadium. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a "Puigfactor" shirt.
• Dodgers starting pitcher Stephen Fife, on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, played catch on Friday at the club's Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.