LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers activated outfielder Carl Crawford from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday night's game against the Marlins and optioned right-hander Zach Lee to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Crawford, who had been on the DL since April 9 with lower back soreness, played three rehab games with Oklahoma City and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, going 4-for-11 (.364) with two doubles and three RBIs. The 34-year-old appeared in five games for the Dodgers before his injury and went 3-for-11 with a double and two RBIs.
Crawford got the start in left field for Tuesday night's game, batting seventh in a lefty-heavy lineup against Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored in a 6-3 Dodgers loss.
"It's great," manager Dave Roberts said. "It was a couple weeks, seeing him jump around and wanting to get back with the guys and be an active player again. It's exciting and I'm looking forward to getting him back in the lineup."
Crawford will enter a crowded left field with Enrique Hernandez, Howie Kendrick, and Trayce Thompson all seeing starts at the position in the last week. Roberts estimated that the optimal amount of starts for Crawford given his injury history would be three times per week.
"We've seen there's a propensity [for Crawford] to get injured," Roberts said. He's in fantastic shape, but even in the beginning of the season, you saw I took him out to keep him off his feet. The idea of running him out there until he breaks is not something I believe in. I try to conserve as much as possible and use that depth."
Exchanging an outfielder for a reliever on the active roster returns the Dodgers to a traditional five-man bench. They had been using an extra reliever out of the bullpen since April 15.
Lee was recalled from the Minors on Saturday, but didn't appear in a game. The 24-year-old, who made his big league debut with one start last year, has a 1.56 ERA over three Triple-A outings in 2016.
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.