DENVER -- General manager Ned Colletti, whose Dodgers started play Friday night tied for last in the National League West, said his club has shown signs of contending this season, but that isn't enough.
"You can always say 'if this, if that,' but 'if' is the most overused word in the English language when something doesn't go your way," said Colletti. "I believe we're on the verge of doing good things, but we've still got to do them."
In a wide-ranging overview of the first 64 games, Colletti praised Matt Kemp for taking his game to another level "across the board," but implied that the club needs more players to join him if it wants to compete.
"I want to see us play better," Colletti said. "We easily could have been 5-1 coming out of Cincinnati and Philadelphia and we had a four-run lead twice last night but couldn't hold it. We were close, but you have to win those games. Close gives you hope, which is not bad to have, but it doesn't win you a game."
Colletti said he's been most disappointed in the Dodgers offense, "especially in the clutch ... you can't help but be concerned." The Dodgers were batting .229 with runners in scoring position entering Friday night's game against the Rockies and were 13th in the league in runs scored and runners stranded.
Colletti cited the 18 disabling injuries as a contributing factor, particularly for its impact on the bullpen, which has suffered five of those injuries. Included is closer Jonathan Broxton, whom Colletti said might be back later this month. But he said the injuries are not reason enough for the poor results.
"We've held up pretty well considering the 18 injuries," he said. "Our starting pitching has kept us in games. But we lost the back five of our bullpen, and that doesn't count [Ronald] Belisario, who never made it into the country. That's a lot to ask for."
Colletti also elaborated on manager Don Mattingly's comments about the Thursday demotion of Jerry Sands and the promotion of Trent Oeltjen. Like Mattingly, Colletti felt Sands wasn't making the proper adjustments at the plate and needed to regroup in a less stressful setting. Among the reasons Oeltjen was promoted is the fact that he has a June 15 out in his contract and Colletti didn't want to lose his plus defense, so essentially he was kept over Jay Gibbons.
Colletti said Gibbons accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque. Juan Castro is considering the same.
He said the adjustments Sands needs to make in his swing are "a small fix. He doesn't need a makeover, but he needs to do it and make it part of what he does."
Kemp scratched but extends streak in a pinch
DENVER -- Outfielder and cleanup hitter Matt Kemp was a late scratch from Friday night's Dodgers lineup with tightness in his left hamstring.
But the Dodgers' center fielder pinch-hit with one out in the ninth and hit his 19th home run of the season onto the concourse beyond the left-field bleachers at Coors Field. It was the Dodgers' first run of the game and began a five-run rally that fell a run short in a 6-5 loss.
Kemp, a single short of hitting for the cycle Thursday night here against the Rockies and among the National League leaders in just about every offensive category, has now played 269 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.
Kemp told club officials he felt the hamstring tighten during his seventh-inning double Thursday night. He said he tried to stretch it out during Friday night warmups, but came out of the lineup as a precautionary measure.
Kemp was replaced in the lineup by Trent Oeltjen, who was called up Thursday. Oeltjen started in left field and Tony Gwynn, originally in left field, started in center field.
Kuo, Jansen advance to next rehab outings
DENVER -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that disabled relievers Hong-Chih Kuo and Kenley Jansen came out of Thursday night rehab outings in good shape and are scheduled for a repeat on Saturday.
Kuo, dealing with anxiety disorder, allowed a leadoff double then retired the next three batters for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Mattingly said Kuo has asked for his next appearance to be in the middle of an inning with runners on base.
"He wants to see how he handles inheriting runners," Mattingly said. "He felt really good about it. He felt better with his breaking ball. The fact that he wants runners on base, it's something he felt he wants to do that. It seems like another hurdle he wants to cross."
Mattingly said Kuo had not expressed a concern about pitching with runners on base in the past, but Kuo had mentioned that the anxiety level elevated the last time he was out as he approached returning.
Jansen, returning from shoulder bursitis, struck out the side for Double-A Chattanooga. He will try to do the same Saturday.
Jansen is eligible to return Monday and Mattingly said it was encouraging to hear that he used a breaking ball along with his cutter.
"He came up last year when guys went down and did well, but in-season it retarded his development," Mattingly said. "When we sent him down last time" -- briefly earlier this year -- "the thinking was that he'd use a second pitch, a breaking ball. He's still a guy that was catching a year and a half ago. He's got to get a feel of the running game, holding runners."
LA signs four picks, including second-rounder
DENVER -- The Dodgers announced the signings of four players taken in this week's First-Year Player Draft, including second-round pick Alex Santana, a high school third baseman from Florida and the son of former Major Leaguer Rafael Santana.
Also signed were 16th-round pick Jeff Schaus, an outfielder at Clemson; 17th-round pick Jesus Valdez, a third baseman at Oxnard (Calif.) College; and 35th-round pick Mike Thomas, a left-handed pitcher from Rider University.
Santana's father now serves as the White Sox head of scouting and player development in the Dominican Republic.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.