04/08/12 7:46 PM ET
Lilly ramps up pitch count in rocky rehab start
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Lilly, on the 15-day disabled list with recurring neck pain, threw 83 pitches vs. Angels affiliate Inland Empire and was charged with seven runs (six earned) on eight hits, two of them home runs, one a grand slam by C.J. Cron.
Before hearing Lilly's line, manager Don Mattingly said the main goal of the rehab start was to build up Lilly's pitch count.
"Obviously, if he comes in and his neck is killing him, but more than anything it's just to build him up," he said. "We look at it that he's past the injury thing and has got to build up his arm."
Lilly is scheduled to return to the rotation for a Saturday start against San Diego.
Jansen uses video to improve mechanics
SAN DIEGO -- Kenley Jansen couldn't understand why he was suddenly giving up home runs, until pitching coaches Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell showed him frame-by-frame video of the mechanical difference in his delivery from last year to this year.
The result was two perfect innings from Jansen in Saturday night's 6-5 Dodgers win in 11 innings.
The difference between good Jansen and bad Jansen is a bend in the right knee that allowed him better drive off the rubber and keeping his left arm in front of his body for greater pitch deception to hitters.
"That's how crazy baseball is," Jansen said. "You think you're doing it right out there because it feels right and you don't really know until you see it on tape. I thought I was throwing just like last year until I saw it.
"Then doing drills with Kenny, I could feel the difference using the lower part of my body. Last night it was totally different. I wasn't even trying to throw hard and the ball was jumping with late life and cutting. The video really helps. It's unbelievable."
Ellis sacrifices at-bats to boost teammates
SAN DIEGO -- Dee Gordon got the headlines Saturday night, while Mark Ellis happily settled for three at-bats more productive than any box score would indicate.
He moved Gordon along three times with a groundout to the right side in the first inning, a two-out walk that prolonged an inning long enough for Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to drive in runs and a fly ball to right that sent Gordon to third tagging up.
Manager Don Mattingly rested Ellis in Sunday's day game following Saturday's night game.
"I want to keep him healthy," Mattingly said. "The guy is really solid. He does a lot of things really well. What he did was huge. I told him this morning, it's a tough spot to hit in. You have no rhythm. They're trying to pick Dee off, coming quick to the plate, he's got to give himself up and all it shows is a no-hit, but he does the job. It might not show up on ESPN or FOX."
Ellis is making the transition after playing most of his career with Oakland in the American League, where he said he never had a true leadoff hitter like Gordon.
"It's like a night-and-day difference in the National League, but I've been around long enough to know what I can do to help win games," Ellis said. "I've got to be willing to give up an at-bat and not worry about the numbers. With Dee on base and Matt behind me, I realize Dee is going to run and I've got to take pitches for him and give Matt the opportunity to drive him in. If I have to sacrifice at-bats, I will."
The reception he received in the dugout from appreciative teammates was a reminder to Ellis of his contribution.
"That's what good teams do, they understand the game," he said. "I know when I've done something good, and when I haven't. I know Donnie understands that. We can win a lot of games if I do my job."
Kershaw recovering from flu, eyes home opener
SAN DIEGO -- With Clayton Kershaw improved but not 100 percent recovered from the flu that cut short his Opening Day start after three innings, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he's expecting Kershaw to make his next start in Tuesday's home opener against Pittsburgh.
"I'm thinking about him starting the game, that's the way I look at it," Mattingly said. "We'll have to pay attention to him strengthwise, how long he goes."
Mattingly said he isn't convinced Kershaw has eaten enough solid foods to be fully recovered.
"He's still not eating the way he'd like to," he said. "I'd like to see him get more calories. He's definitely better, he's expecting to go, but we'll pay attention to him. He's been eating bland foods. Haven't seen him at any Mexican grills yet."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.