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Crawford frustrated with prolonged slump

MIAMI -- Mired in a 4-for-45 slump, Carl Crawford was out of the Dodgers' lineup Saturday night. But with five outfielders for three spots, it's hard to tell when somebody gets benched, even with the .185 batting average he was sporting entering Saturday.

"I still feel Carl's a big part of this club," manager Don Mattingly said before the Dodgers' 9-7 win over the Marlins, in which Crawford entered the game in the 10th inning and delivered a two-run, game-winning homer in the 11th.

"I'm not giving up on anyone. Just because he's not in the lineup doesn't mean I've changed my thinking. He's done it once, he can do it again. Yasiel [Puig] has taken off and said, I'm the right fielder. I can't say anyone else has done that. Carl has struggled, but he's still in our plans."

A four-time All-Star, Crawford was left off the All-Star ballot. But he was hitting .306 through the first nine games of the season. Then he sat out two games because of a sore side muscle and hasn't been the same.

"That was the turning point," Crawford said. "I had that side tweak and I really regret doing that. From that moment on it's [been] downhill. Lesson learned. I'm not blaming nobody for nothing. I've got to get back in the groove."

Crawford said he is healthy and believes he's been swinging at good pitches and making contact, but is hitting into bad luck.

"It's frustrating," he said. "I've had slumps, but nothing like this. I have to dig real deep, no other choices."

On Friday night, Mattingly suggested that Crawford might be pressing to prove he belongs in the lineup.

"I ain't pressing. I pressed in Boston, I know what that looks like," he said. "I'm just not getting results."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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