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06/02/11 2:48 AM ET

Due to return Friday, Padilla may close for LA

LOS ANGELES -- On Tuesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said if everything went as planned in reliever Vicente Padilla's rehab start that night, he would return from the disabled list Friday.

It went as planned, with Padilla needing just 13 pitches to work his way through two scoreless innings for Class A Rancho Cucamonga, and Mattingly is confident he'll have the righty back for the start of a 10-game road trip.

As for Padilla's role, Mattingly wouldn't commit to using him as a closer, but given the slew of injuries in his bullpen, he hinted it may be the best option.

"We haven't really talked about it too much," Mattingly said. "But with him we're not afraid to put him in that role."

Mattingly said he still plans to pick a closer based on matchups but ultimately said he'd like to have someone specific to give the ball to in the final inning.

"I'd like to have that guy in the ninth where we say this is our guy in the ninth, this is where we go and we work to him," Mattingly said. "We haven't been able to put that scenario together, so we've been really flexible as to how we're doing it, but I'd still like to have that guy."

Padilla threw two innings in each of his rehab outings, but Mattingly said that was strictly because one inning didn't give Padilla enough pitches.

In other pitching news, Kenley Jansen, another wounded member of the Dodgers' bullpen, threw for the first time since being put on the disabled list Sunday with inflammation in his right shoulder.

Lindblom shakes off nerves for scoreless debut

LOS ANGELES -- Josh Lindblom had waited all his life to pitch from a Major League mound.

For some reason, the last four days seemed to be the most difficult.

But after biding his time in the Dodgers' bullpen for four days, Lindblom finally got the call in seventh inning of Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Rockies. He surrendered two hits but didn't allow a run in one inning.

And the 23-year old from Indiana did it with his entire family in the stands (they had been waiting for four days, too) and after the Dodger Stadium JumboTron had wished his sister a happy birthday.

A couple innings later, it was his name on the big screen.

"You see your name pop up on the JumboTron -- that's something you dream about as a little kid," he said. "It was a little surreal."

He snapped back to reality quickly however, when he allowed a pair of singles to start his big league career -- the first a hard line drive to right and the second a broken-bat blooper into center. He said during the first two batters he felt he was moving a little too quickly on the mound.

But with some help from James Loney, who made a pair of solid defensive plays at first base for the final two outs, Lindblom managed to work his way out of trouble and into a scoreless inning in his big league debut.

"I handled the nerves actually pretty well," Lindblom said. "I just kind of had to step back a little bit and take it all in."

Lindblom was called up Sunday after posting a 2.96 ERA and seven saves in 19 appearances with Double-A Chattanooga.

Dodgers impressed with development of Sands

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly liked a different matchup more Wednesday, so he did something he said he doesn't plan on doing much in the coming weeks: He sat Jerry Sands.

In the Dodgers' ever-changing left field, Mattingly started left-handed-hitting Jay Gibbons in place of Sands, with Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. Before the game, Mattingly was asked if he was giving the slumping Sands a day off.

"Not so much," he said. "It's just a matchup."

Sands has shown flashes of brilliance since he was called up to Los Angeles on April 18 as one of the organization's top prospects. He went 6-for-12 during a four-game span on the Dodgers' most recent road trip in which he homered twice, including a grand slam in Houston.

Sands has also struggled. He is just 3-for-21 since that hot streak and in April his averaged hovered around .200.

Mattingly called Sands' on-field progress "a back and forth." But he has been more impressed with Sands' mental approach to the game at the Major League level.

"He's been what we thought as far as not being overwhelmed and mentally making adjustments," Mattingly said.

As a result, Mattingly has found ways to get Sands in 35 of the 40 games Los Angeles has played since he was called up. A left fielder by trade, Sands has also spent time at first base and has four pinch-hitting appearances.

"I'm getting used to it," Sands said. "It's the big leagues, so I have to realize where I'm at and how hard I have to work, but I'm getting comfortable up here."

Sands hasn't only bounced around with his roles in the field, but he has done so in the batting order, too. It's a prospect he doesn't mind.

"In the lineup is where I like to be," he said. "It doesn't really matter where."

Dodgers' offense seeing rewards of hard work

LOS ANGELES -- Some would say Don Mattingly's patience paid off.

The Dodgers manager, however, said he saw no other option than to stick with some of his slumping hitters going through stretches that weren't typical of their past performance.

"Baseball kind of tells you that guys who have hit traditionally, who struggle for short periods of time, are gonna come back," Mattingly said in reference to hitters such as James Loney, Jay Gibbons and Rafael Furcal.

Mattingly said given the work he's seen them put in, he never doubted they'd start hitting eventually. All three were in the lineup Wednesday against Colorado.

He did add one disclaimer to his once-a-hitter, always-a-hitter theory: "As long as they're working," he said.

AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.