In two separate transactions Saturday morning, the Dodgers signed veteran lefty reliever Sean Burnett to a minor league deal, while placing outfielder Carl Crawford on the 15-day disabled list with a sore lower back.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was first to report the Burnett deal, which apparently gives the southpaw the right to opt out if he’s not added to the major league roster by May 1.
Burnett, 33, did not pitch last year after sustaining his second Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2014 season. Having gone under the knife initially while with the Pirates in 2004, Burnett’s best season came in 2010 with the Nationals when he threw 63 total innings over 73 appearances, recording a 2.14 ERA, a 2.73 FIP and a 1.143 WHIP along with 62 strikeouts.
From 2009-2012, Burnett tallied a 2.85 ERA while averaging 71 games, 58 innings, 49 strikeouts and 20 walks per season. He was cut by the Nationals towards the end of Grapefruit League play this spring.
Burnett will presumably join fellow left-handers Adam Liberatore and Luis Avilan in the Oklahoma City bullpen.
Crawford, who has now appeared on the disabled list seven times in the past six seasons, is scheduled to have an MRI administered Monday in Los Angeles. To replace Crawford on the 25-man roster, the team recalled infielder/outfielder Micah Johnson from Oklahoma City.
Crawford joins 10 other teammates on the Dodgers’ current disabled list.
Johnson started in left field for OKC on Friday night, going 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout. He went 2-for-5 with two singles, two stolen bases and two runs scored playing second base in the team’s 5-0 victory over Nashville on Thursday.
TBPC profiled Johnson in early March.
Crawford has been suffering minor back pain for the past three weeks, and the team decided to shut him down completely rather than wait out the injury and waste a valuable roster spot.
“He [Crawford] was in favor of it,” manager Dave Roberts told Andy McCullough of the LA Times. “It takes the pressure off him. It allows us some roster flexibility, with Micah here, who can play the infield, play the outfield, be a left-handed bat off the bench, pinch run. It’s a win-win for all of us.”
Last season Crawford hit .265/.304/.403 with four home runs and 16 RBI over 193 plate appearances. His banner year came in 2010 when he slashed .307/.356/.495 with 110 runs scored, 30 doubles, 13 triples, 19 home runs, 90 RBI and 47 stolen bases.
In other injury news, Oklahoma City placed starter/swingman Carlos Frias on the 7-day disabled list with an oblique strain. Frias was scheduled to make his first start of the season at Nashville on Sunday.