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04/15/11 10:00 PM ET

Rehabbing Dodgers getting closer

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Marcus Thames missed another start with a sore quad muscle on Friday, while manager Don Mattingly said Jay Gibbons and Dioner Navarro continue to make progress in their injury-rehabilitation assignments.

Thames came out of Wednesday night's game after scoring from first base on Aaron Miles' triple and aggravating a quad muscle that had been bothering him for a few days. Mattingly said Thames was available for pinch-hitting. Tony Gwynn started in left field and led off on Friday night.

Gibbons missed the last two games for Triple-A Albuquerque for another eye exam, but Mattingly said he's rejoining the Isotopes on the road and his vision problems are diminishing. Mattingly said he expects Gibbons back when his 20-day assignment ends on April 26.

Navarro, out with a torn oblique muscle, is catching and batting right-handed in extended spring training games and has begun batting left-handed in batting practice. Mattingly said once Navarro can bat left-handed in games, he will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, perhaps at Double-A Chattanooga, and could rejoin the Dodgers on their next trip that ends in Florida.

Mattingly is mindful of Kuroda's workload

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly second-guessed himself for letting Hiroki Kuroda try to get a complete game last weekend, suspecting that fatigue played a role in Kuroda's rough start on Thursday night.

"I did question myself a little bit," said Mattingly, who let Kuroda fall one batter short of a shutout in San Diego, then get knocked around for six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in five innings by the Cardinals.

Mattingly said, in general, he seeks input from pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on pitcher/hitter matchups, pitcher health, availability and the like.

"It's the same way Joe did it," Mattingly said, referring to predecessor Joe Torre. "I trust what he does with the guys and what he says. I make the final decision and take responsibility."

Mattingly noted that because Kuroda pitched 11 years in Japan, where they utilize a six-man rotation and get extra days off, Kuroda generally pitches better when rested.

"I felt he deserved the opportunity to do that," he said of Kuroda coming out for the ninth inning in San Diego. "You don't know that that's what happened last night."

Snake crashes BP at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES -- For all the added security at Dodger Stadium, a trespasser still made its way onto the outfield during batting practice on Friday.

"A snake," Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier said of the reptile that slithered up alongside St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter. "They [two other St. Louis players] pinned it down and took it into the Cardinals' bullpen."

Guerrier said this isn't the first time he's seen a snake, which are native to the local hillsides, in the Dodger Stadium outfield.

"We saw one when the Angels were here for the preseason game," he said. "It wasn't very big. I had two snakes in college. But I wouldn't go around picking them up."

Padilla set to begin rehab assignment

LOS ANGELES -- Injured Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla, fully recovered from a setback following spring arm surgery, pitched off a mound for a second consecutive day on Friday and is likely to begin a brief Minor League rehab assignment next week.

Padilla, who had an entrapped radial nerve freed in an operation on Feb. 24, irritated the arm in a 60-pitch simulated game 10 days ago, but he's back on track and not expected to need more than one or two appearances to be ready to help the Dodgers.

Padilla was re-signed with the intent of having him pitch in relief, the thinking being that his arm and body would more easily hold up to brief appearances than the innings demand of a starting pitcher.

Padilla came into Spring Training thinking that he could be a starter, as he's been his entire career, but the operation and the setback are two indicators that relief is probably the more logical way to go.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.