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On eve of first full-squad workout, club raring to go

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The first full-squad workout isn't officially until Friday, but nearly every Dodger was on the field at Camelback Ranch on Thursday.

Only Carl Crawford was absent, and that's because he was having wisdom teeth removed. He's expected to be in uniform with everybody else Friday. It seems this Dodgers team can't wait to get going.

Manager Don Mattingly will have his annual kickoff team meeting and club president Stan Kasten has flown in for the occasion.

"The last day of calm before the whole group is here," Mattingly said before Thursday's workout. "It will be more hectic tomorrow."

Because of the Opening Series in Australia, this will be a compressed Spring Training. Pitchers get a day off on Saturday before things get serious. The new Dodgers network, SportsNet LA, debuts Feb. 25, Cactus League games begin Feb. 26 and the team leaves for Australia on March 16. That means the Dodgers will play exhibition games for only 19 days (not counting one vs. Team Australia) before the Opening Series in Australia March 22-23 against Arizona, with the Freeway Series March 27-29 and the regular season resuming March 30 in San Diego.

"It's not a perfect situation," Mattingly said of the unique scheduling. "But going to Australia is good for the game."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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