Crawford understanding of reserve role in return from DL

Carl Crawford is hitting .267 with four home runs and 18 RBI in 44 games with the Dodgers this season.

LOS ANGELES — Carl Crawford is understanding. And for that, Don Mattingly is thankful.

Crawford was activated from the disabled list on Thursday. In a corresponding move, the team designated Clint Robinson for assignment.

Crawford was last seen in the lineup May 27 before going on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain. In his four-game rehab stint, Crawford hit .455 with three triples for Triple-A Albuquerque.

In 44 games with the Dodgers this season he’s batting .267 with four home runs, 18 RBI, and has also stolen nine bases.

Despite the Dodgers being losers of three of four and getting swept out of Detroit during their short two-game series, Mattingly feels the team is in a good groove and doesn’t want to do anything to disrupt that. For Crawford that means he won’t be in the lineup Thursday night when the Dodgers open up a four-game set with the Padres at Dodger Stadium.

When, exactly, Crawford fits in is still up in the air.

"We’ll just see how it goes," Mattingly said. "It depends on how we play and how everything’s going."

Mattingly spoke to Crawford about his decision earlier Thursday. For his skipper’s honest and up front approach, Crawford is grateful.

"He told me straight up and all I can do is take the news in stride," Crawford said. "He said we been winning right now and he’s going to stick with the lineup and that’s pretty much it. I understood it.

"It makes it a lot better that he was able to just tell me. That way I can prepare and know the situation instead of coming to the field (not knowing). I think that was a problem early on coming to the field early and guys just not knowing. Now I think people know what’s going on and make people play a lot better and not be so (upset) about stuff that was going on."

In what has become the never-ending discussion of a crowded outfield has resumed with Crawford’s return to health.

On Thursday, Mattingly listed Matt Kemp, Scott Van Slyke and Yasiel Puig on the lineup card in the outfield from left to right — leaving Crawford and Ethier as the odd men out.