Kendrick to see more time in left field

Kendrick to see more time in left field

LOS ANGELES -- Howie Kendrick will be seeing more starts at left field due to both an immediate need at the position for the Dodgers and a desire to keep both him and Chase Utley in the lineup. Kendrick made his first start at the position since 2011 in Wednesday's game against the Diamondbacks, but he did see time at the position late in Tuesday's 4-2 loss. It's a move that manager Dave Roberts credited Kendrick's experience for making possible.

"I think, perfect world, we would have got him more repetitions this spring, but we can't anticipate how the season's going to play out," Roberts said. "So losing [Andre Ethier] and [Scott Van Slyke] this early, for us, the way Chase is playing, we want to keep him in the lineup, and also it's a way to add length to our lineup by having Howie in there. That's stuff he and I talked about the first day he re-signed, about being open to it."

Kendrick is one game off a stint on the 15-day disabled list due to a left calf injury and playing a relatively unfamiliar position, but Roberts noted that playing in the outfield could be less of an injury risk than second base.

"He's healthy now, so there's a little bit of recent history, but I think that there's an argument to be made that it might even be a little bit easier on him, because of the rope that cuts in the middle of the infield," Roberts said. "You have to be a little bit more dynamic in the middle of the infield. I think being in the outfield is there's a lot more room to run around."

Worth noting

Carl Crawford has improved enough to start baseball activities and is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in a week, with a planned return next Sunday. No decision has been made yet on where Crawford will do his rehab assignment.

Brandon McCarthy is throwing 30- to 40-pitch bullpen sessions and has been stretching his arm out, recently throwing 150 feet. Hyun-Jin Ryu is undergoing a similar program as McCarthy, working in the weight room and throwing sessions of two innings with 20 pitches each.

Jack Baer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.