SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hector Gimenez slugged his third home run of the week Friday to tie Matt Kemp for the Dodgers lead, while Xavier Paul added a solo shot and Ivan DeJesus had three hits.
All three players, fighting for Dodgers roster spots, have averages above .300. But their immediate futures could be decided by factors beyond their control.
Gimenez and Paul are out of options and the club will risk losing them through waivers if attempts are made to send either to the Minor Leagues.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have options on DeJesus. But with Casey Blake's back injury putting his availability for the opener in doubt, manager Don Mattingly has said he would move second baseman Juan Uribe to third base and fill in at second.
Jamey Carroll is the logical choice, but he is nursing a bruised right index finger. Even if that heals in time, the Dodgers would probably carry an extra middle infielder if Blake is disabled. That's where DeJesus (batting .333) could make the roster, although he is competing with non-roster infielders Juan Castro (.273), Aaron Miles (.323) and long-shot Eugenio Velez (.083).
Mattingly said he didn't want DeJesus on the club if he isn't playing regularly, which would narrow down the battle primarily to Castro and Miles.
Gimenez, batting .360, could be squeezed off the club even though he's having the best spring of the group and has increased his value by showing he can play first base in addition to his natural catching position.
Blake could start season on disabled list
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Although Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said it was a "possibility" third baseman Casey Blake starts the season on the disabled list, Blake was able to test his sore back Friday by taking a few swings off a tee and playing catch.
"I'd like to," Blake said of making the Opening Day squad. "But I want to make sure I'm healthy and able to help the team."
This was the first baseball activity since Blake was hurt Saturday trying to leg out a bunt. Doctors concluded he has thoracic back inflammation and he received an injection.
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"I was pretty pleased," he said. "I know I'm still not ready. I hope we keep progressing like we have been. We'll see how it responds tomorrow. That's a big gauge to get an idea if we did too much today. We want to let the medicine work and not push too much to inflame it."
With Opening Day 13 days away, Mattingly conceded he's been looking at "contingencies," specifically moving Juan Uribe to third base. Jamey Carroll would be the logical replacement for Uribe at second base, but he's been hampered by a bruised finger. Aaron Miles, Juan Castro and Ivan DeJesus are contenders for an extra infield position.
Mattingly said he is more optimistic about Blake's return after doctors ruled out an oblique strain for the pain that is being referred toward his rib cage.
Blake was hitting .077 when injured and Mattingly said his concern would be getting Blake enough at-bats so he finds his hitting timing.
"We need to see enough to know he's right" Mattingly said.
Uribe hears mostly cheers from Giants fans
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Juan Uribe played his first game as a Giants opponent in Dodger Blue and seemed a little surprised at the fan reaction, which was more positive than negative.
Uribe, a popular postseason hero in the Giants' title drive, was expecting loud boos from fans at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday.
"You never know," he said. "I wasn't nervous. Maybe some people are mad, some people no. This year, this is the team. My team is the Dodgers. I don't want fans to feel bad. I don't have control of the teams and contract. But I like the fans. The Giants people, the manager, the coaches, the players I play with, it's a good team."
Uribe said the tight right hamstring that limited his play earlier in the week had improved and he said he had no problem moving from second base to third base with the back injury to Casey Blake.
"I'm here where the team needs me," he said. "Whatever the manager says. I want to be in the lineup. I want to help the team win games."
Padilla feels no pain during bullpen session
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla took a big step in his recovery from right forearm surgery Friday when he threw a 30-pitch bullpen session -- his first time throwing from a mound since the Feb. 24 operation to free an entrapped radial nerve.
Padilla was kept to an 80-mph limit by trainer Stan Conte and was throwing free and easy with no signs of discomfort.
The Dodgers have not given a timetable on Padilla's return, but he seems to be on a best-case scenario without any setbacks. Still, he is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.
Lilly, Carroll, Gibbons in Minors action
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While the Dodgers beat the Giants in the big league game Friday, several Dodgers got work in a Minor League game.
Starting pitcher Ted Lilly threw 72 pitches over six innings in a Class A game against Texas, allowing two runs (on a homer), seven hits with six strikeouts and a hit batter. The Dodgers wanted to stretch out Lilly without giving the Giants an extended look at him.
In a Triple-A game against the Rangers, Jamey Carroll went 1-for-3 with two walks as designated hitter and Jay Gibbons went 1-4. Carroll is behind held out of defense because of a bruised right index finger that bothers him throwing but not hitting.
Gibbons is making up for time lost to resolve eyesight problems, which seem to be improved with a new prescription and contact lens obtained this week.
Interpreter Nimura's in-laws safe in Japan
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers interpreter Kenji Nimura was relieved to report that his in-laws, not heard from and believed missing since last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, contacted him Thursday night and are safe.
Nimura feared the worst for the mother of his brother-in-law. However, it turned out that their area of the country was hit so hard there was no power or phone service of any kind until Thursday.
"In the back of my mind, I was hoping that was the reason," said Nimura. "Everybody's fine."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.