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Healthy Crawford springs right into action

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In keeping with a reputation that he'll work until his hands bleed, Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford took enough batting practice Saturday to develop a blister on his hand.

Aside from that, Crawford said he's in the best physical shape for the start of a Spring Training since 2011. He spent the winter strengthening his core and back muscles, which are suspected of leading to the hamstring problems that put him on the disabled list and diminished his base-stealing confidence.

Manager Don Mattingly said he will give Crawford enough days off this season to keep him healthy, while Crawford said he intends on revving back up the burners the way he did while winning four base-stealing titles with Tampa Bay.

"I can tell a difference in the way I feel," he said. "There's not as much strain on my back and hamstrings."

Crawford said the leg injuries took away his base-stealing aggressiveness. He said he will try more head-first slides on steals and avoid sliding on his back leg.

"I went head-first all the time when I was younger," Crawford said. "Generally, that's not the safest way. But either I do that or I stand still at first base all year. I'll try something different and get that doubt out of my head."

Crawford had a decent steal success rate (15-of-19), but he had more than 50 stolen base attempts in seven of eight full seasons with Tampa Bay.

"That's what's frustrating," Crawford said. "I got my triples, went from first to third, why am I not stealing more? It's all mental and I just have to get over the hump."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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