PHILADELPHIA -- Carl Crawford will see increased playing time, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, beginning with his start in left field in Thursday's 10-8 win over the Phillies.
Crawford opened the season as the primary left fielder in a platoon with Scott Van Slyke. But Crawford sustained a badly pulled right oblique muscle at the end of April and returned nearly three months later to be told he had lost some playing time to Andre Ethier.
On Thursday for the series finale against the Phils, Mattingly moved Ethier to right field and Yasiel Puig to the bench as Crawford started in left.
"I want to try to get him in at least once a series, get him to be part of the mix," said Mattingly. "We know going forward guys need days here and there."
Although Puig has four home runs in the past 13 games entering Thursday, including a decisive three-run blast Wednesday night, Mattingly said Thursday's choice for a day off came down to Ethier or Puig.
"And Andre's really swinging the bat good, pretty much he's been our best and consistent offensive outfielder out there," Mattingly said. "Carl's really in Andre's boat from last year. Carl got hot last year, took off, and this year Andre's been that guy. It's not Carl's fault that he got hurt, but Andre got the opportunity and took off."
Mattingly said Puig's baserunning mistake Wednesday night (nailed trying to score on a pitch that wasn't wild enough) had nothing to do with the decision.
"Days off are good for Yasiel honestly," Mattingly said. "When he gets them -- I don't know if he was used to playing less in Cuba -- but his focus seems sharper when he's getting a day off a week. I don't think it will affect anybody negatively."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.