05/08/12 9:15 PM ET
Dodgers keeping eye on Kemp, Hairston injuries
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
As Kemp showed Monday night, coasting into second on a double and running for a sinking fly ball half-speed that earned him an error, he's playing safety first, but he's still playing on a slight strain.
"Kemp's good to go," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "I want to keep making sure. You see him hit the ball and he comes chillin' into second, you know he's not pushing it. I'm making sure. I asked [head athletic trainer] Sue [Falsone] 10 times, 'Is he ready to go or not?' I don't play him if he's not ready. They tell me he's OK and he's promised to be honest."
Mattingly said he saw a lineup without Kemp on Sunday at Wrigley Field and knows what that's like, but insists he's not playing someone that shouldn't be playing.
"I'm just making sure we're smart, because it's better not to have him one day or two days compared to 15 or 20 days. He knows his body. And the DL screws you up. You're out two weeks, that doesn't mean you come back where you left off. You take 10 days, it's a mystery with what you're going to get when he comes back."
Hairston's injury is more severe, but the club isn't convinced it's severe enough to require 15 days on the disabled list.
"Jerry's getting better," said Mattingly. "He's hitting off a tee and Sue will let me know what he can do. If it gets better, he'll probably be able to do something tonight. We're moving in that direction; the key is how soon we can get something from him."
Hairston said this injury has turned out to be worse than the cramp he originally hoped it was, but not as bad as a pull he once suffered on the other side.
"I didn't blow it," he said. "I'd call it a mild strain. I hope it's only a few days."
Struggling Loney could lose more playing time
LOS ANGELES -- Last week, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly conceded that first baseman James Loney is being platooned, and Tuesday, platooning sounded like a generous description.
Although Loney was in the starting lineup Tuesday (he was 4-for-9 against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong), overall he's off to another bad start.
He's hitting .111 against left-handed pitching, which isn't a shock after his first half last year, but he's also struggling at .237 against right-handers. Combined, he's .198 with one homer and six RBIs, and Mattingly already is sounding like his patience is running thin.
"He's been inconsistent, obviously," Mattingly said of Loney. "Last night he crushes a ball. It's day to day with James."
The Friday addition of outfielder Bobby Abreu gives the Dodgers a proven hitter that allows moving Juan Rivera to first base.
"To me, it gets to the point where it's just a production thing," said Mattingly. "You've got to throw numbers up there, some way, shape or form, and find production."
Mattingly said that means Loney won't necessarily play against right-handers, after already losing playing time against left-handers.
"Juan is starting to look like every day, consistently throwing good at-bats up there," said Mattingly. "Bobby Abreu has been good so far. He's so calm up there. We'll see where it goes."
Mattingly also said he still had room for a versatile right-handed hitter, a spot that would have gone to Jerry Sands if he had a good Spring Training.
"Lefties are still giving us trouble," said Mattingly "[Drew] Pomeranz in Colorado, [Paul] Maholm and [Travis] Wood in Chicago, and [Barry] Zito gave us trouble last night. I don't know what our record is against lefties [8-6 vs. left-handed starters], but we're struggling against them. I still feel there's a need for that. We're still missing that piece that says go right-handed."
Mattingly tips cap to retiring Blake
LOS ANGELES -- Manager Don Mattingly reacted to word that former Dodger Casey Blake officially retired Tuesday.
Blake, 38, was traded by Cleveland to the Dodgers on July 28, 2008, and played in Los Angeles through last season, which was plagued by three stints on the disabled list and ended with neck surgery. He was released this spring by Colorado.
"I have a ton of respect for Casey," said Mattingly. "He spent a lot of time in the Minor Leagues and never gave up. He played a long time. I always love guys like that. He was so polished when he got here. He just played the game right. He was grateful and thankful to be in the big leagues."
Mattingly said Blake probably has another career chapter if he wants it. Matt Kemp credited Blake with being like a big brother in his early seasons.
"I could see Casey be a coach," Mattingly said. "He'd be good for any organization in a lot of different areas."
Guerrier to try pushing forward in rehab
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier, on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis that put him on the sidelines April 19, will pick up the pace of his rehab to test his arm.
Guerrier said he still feels some discomfort just playing catch, but will increase the intensity of his throwing to see if he can pitch through it. A platelet-rich plasma injection during the last homestand had little effect and he doesn't intend on having another.
"The doctor said I'm ready to go forward," Guerrier said. "I've been playing catch just to maintain the motion in my arm, but now it's time to pick it up."
If Guerrier is not able to pitch through the discomfort, he might shut down throwing for an extended time.
Manager Don Mattingly said Rubby De La Rosa and Blake Hawksworth remain in extended spring training healing from elbow operations.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.