GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carl Crawford's elbow irritation has improved enough that he will start hitting off a tee on Thursday, but it still appears unlikely the Dodgers outfielder will be ready for Opening Day.
Crawford, who underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction in August, was shut down from hitting and throwing for a week when he experienced discomfort. He'll begin hitting, without throwing, as the club attempts to determine which activity caused the irritation.
"He's doing good, not feeling anything at all," manager Don Mattingly said. "He'll be monitored now on a rehab program by the number of swings taken. He'll start in the cage. It will be controlled."
Crawford has been able to do other baseball activities like baserunning and shagging, so it isn't as if he's beginning Spring Training all over. But the club wants to avoid another elbow episode.
"One thing at a time. If there's no trouble in one area, we'll move to the next," Mattingly said. "If something flares up, we want to know what causes it."
Mattingly said it was too early to guess when Crawford would appear in a game, another indication that being fully ready for Opening Day seems overly optimistic.
"We want to be cautious at first," Mattingly said. "[The trainers] don't want it to flare up doing too much too fast."
In the meantime, the Dodgers expect playing time in left field to go to Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston, while taking extended looks at Alex Castellanos, Elian Herrera and even Cuba import Yasiel Puig.
Greinke scratched from start due to flu
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, who skipped his Sunday bullpen session with minor forearm tightness, was scratched from Wednesday's exhibition start against Mexico's World Baseball Classic squad because of the flu.
Stephen Fife, who was scheduled to relieve Greinke, started in his place.
Greinke, who signed for $147 million during the offseason, was scheduled to make only 45 pitches as a concession to the forearm tightness he felt after his previous start Friday. Greinke told the club he had experienced similar discomfort in years past and was not concerned that it was serious.
Greinke reported to Camelback Ranch on Wednesday hoping to start, but was scratched two hours before game time. He is one of several Dodgers to be stricken in recent days. Last week, third baseman Luis Cruz received intravenous fluids at a local hospital after experiencing stomach problems.
Ted Lilly missed two days of workouts and was scratched from a Tuesday game appearance because of the flu. Lilly threw a bullpen session Wednesday and is expected to start Friday.
Reliever Paco Rodriguez missed practice Wednesday with similar symptoms.
In other medical news, reliever Scott Elbert resumed playing catch for the first time since his second elbow operation in January, and Chris Withrow threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since being shelved with back problems since the start of Spring Training.
Guerra won't be pitching in Classic
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra won't be pitching for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic after all.
Guerra, who was added to the Mexican team last week because other pitchers dropped out, was taken off the roster Wednesday because of liability issues resulting from his offseason shoulder surgery, Guerra said.
The 27-year-old said he was disappointed. The Dodgers are probably relieved, as they preferred to have Guerra remain in camp. But as an organization, it supports player participation in the Classic.
Because of an injury-plagued season last year in which he also underwent knee surgery and lost his job as closer, Guerra is fighting to stay in the big leagues this season.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.