LOS ANGELES -- With his club nine games over .500 and 3 1/2 games back in the National League West halfway through the season, manager Joe Torre's self-issued report card on Monday had high marks for the team's resiliency despite injuries.
One year ago Monday, the Dodgers were 51-30 and held the best record in the Majors.
"You look at the people you've had to do it without," Torre said. "Manny [Ramirez] now a couple times on the DL. Your starting pitcher Opening Day [Vicente Padilla] on the DL. [Chad] Billingsley on the DL. Matt [Kemp] having the June he had. [Andre] Ethier being on the DL. I think we're alright."
There was Rafael Furcal, too. The injuries created times in May when it looked like the Dodgers had only three starting pitchers, with Charlie Haeger struggling and Padilla sidelined with an irritated nerve in his right elbow. Today, the Dodgers' rotation is the soundest it's been all season now that Billingsley has returned, not only from injury, but to form.
"Billingsley has been a huge find, huge find for us," Torre said. "He's like a new pitcher again."
Kemp appears more comfortable at plate
LOS ANGELES -- At-bats have started to slow down for Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who has homered in three of the past four games and went 9-for-22 on the Dodgers' six-game road trip after being briefly benched.
"He looks like he's not in a hurry," manager Joe Torre said. "And to me when you look like you're in a hurry, that pitcher is going to make you pay for that. It was good for us ... especially the home run [on Sunday] being as late [in the game] as it was, that was big for him. You can see he was very emotional as he came around the bases. Everybody was pulling for him in the dugout. I think that's the one area where he felt he was letting people down."
More open to talking now about what was going on with Kemp's play than he was near the time of the benching, Torre said Monday he thought Kemp was putting too much pressure on himself.
"I think he's just more relaxed," Torre said. "I think he was just wound up very tight. You can't help yourself. We have stats all over the board; you get up to home plate, you look out there, and you see what you're hitting. When I played, I had to look out there and see my picture, and that was ugly."
Manny could begin rehab over weekend
LOS ANGELES -- A rehab stint for outfielder Manny Ramirez could begin "toward the weekend" Dodgers manager Joe Torre said on Monday. Ramirez, out with a hamstring injury, is eligible to return on July 15 in St. Louis, the first series following the All-Star break.
"I think he had talked to [team trainer Stan Conte]," Torre said. "If he's ready to do it or wants to do it, I don't think it would hurt him. If we were in the American League, chances are we probably would've hung on a little bit longer [without disabling Ramirez], because he could've DH'd. He could've done things."
Monasterios could return to Dodgers soon
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers will activate Carlos Monasterios from the disabled list on Tuesday or Wednesday, manager Joe Torre said on Monday.
Monasterios, out with a blister on his right index finger, is physically able to pitch now, but the team has yet to make an official roster move. He last pitched on Saturday night for Triple-A Albuquerque, throwing three scoreless innings.
"He's available to us," Torre said. "We just have to figure out the corresponding move. I know it always has that long guy's name attached to it, but we'll see."
Reliever Travis Schlichting was recalled from Triple-A on Saturday and could be optioned down. The Dodgers released reliever Jesus Colome from Albuquerque on Sunday after he was signed on June 23. Colome allowed five runs and recorded four outs during three appearances.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.