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Scott Van Slyke's injury worse than previously thought

Scott Van Slyke is still expected to be about a week from returning to baseball activities, and after that it will take another two or three weeks to return to the lineup, said manager Dave Roberts. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

ATLANTA -- While Carl Crawford's injury rehab assignment was a little late in getting started, a bigger concern for the Los Angeles Dodgers comes with the status of Scott Van Slyke.

Both Crawford and Van Slyke are on the disabled list with lower-back injuries, but while Crawford is closing in on a comeback, Van Slyke’s injury is considered more serious than previously thought. Crawford went on the disabled list April 9, while Van Slyke went on one day later.

Van Slyke was said to have "lower-back irritation” when he went on the DL. While manager Dave Roberts did not have an updated diagnosis Wednesday, he did say the injury was more serious than originally believed.

Van Slyke is still expected to be about a week from returning to baseball activities, and after that it will be a slow comeback. “I’d say from the point he starts, to get back to playing with us, it’s a couple, two, three weeks,” Roberts said.

If Van Slyke doesn’t begin activity for a week and then can’t get back for another three weeks, he is looking at a return around May 17. It's all because of an injury that was originally expected to keep him out of action for only a few days. He was injured in the April 9 game at San Francisco, leaving after a particularly uncomfortable at-bat.

So what changed?

“I think it was the the medical, getting the X-rays or the MRI, whatever pictures they took,” Roberts said. “Now you’re starting to see something. As you see something, can it get worse? And the answer was yes, so that’s kind of what it is. A lot of times if there is an injury and if it can’t get worse, then you’re playing to tolerance.”

The longer DL stint for Van Slyke figures to give Trayce Thompson more time to settle in on the big-league roster. But in an attempt to get both Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick in the lineup at the same time, Roberts has been going with Kendrick in left field lately.

As for Crawford’s rehab assignment, the only thing the Dodgers are saying is that the outfielder had “flight issues.” Crawford was not in the starting lineup for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday, as expected, but might be available to enter the game in the later innings.

Crawford is eligible to return to the roster on Sunday, although the travel snafu could delay that, as could the club’s desire to have an extra arm in the bullpen this weekend at Colorado.