SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford has a lower back muscular injury that has taken him out of the lineup and could put him on the disabled list.
The 34-year-old Crawford, plagued by injuries in recent years, inherited the starting left-field job when Andre Ethier broke his right leg two weeks ago. However, Crawford said he's been dealing with lower back pain since the middle of Spring Training and "it finally got to the point where I couldn't take the pain and needed to say something. With me being like that, it's not helping anything."
Manager Dave Roberts, who used Crawford as a pinch-hitter Thursday, said he might be available for pinch-hitting Friday night and would sit Saturday against lefty Madison Bumgarner. Scott Van Slyke started in left field Thursday and Friday.
If Crawford still hasn't played by Sunday, Roberts said, "We don't want our hands tied with four on the bench."
Roberts said a core injury affects all aspects of the game, especially Crawford's running speed, which is a big part of his skill set.
"If he doesn't have that," said Roberts, "he can't be the player he can be."
Crawford, who has missed at least a month a season with an injury for each of the last five years, said he has had occasional lower-back issues in the past that would "flare up and cool down." He said he is particularly puzzled because he worked over the winter and spring specifically in an attempt to avoid injuries.
"It seems like the opposite happened," he said. "I feel terrible about that. I really tried hard to maintain my strength in the core and back and I'm still having issues."
• Roberts said Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal came out of their first rehab games Thursday with no setbacks. He said Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched two innings (40 pitches) in a simulated game and has another scheduled Tuesday. And Mike Bolsinger is playing catch as he returns from a strained left oblique.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.