05/20/12 2:49 AM ET
First FanFest goes swimmingly -- and singingly
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
His on-stage singing resume? Not quite as impressive, although he unexpectedly began piecing it together Saturday with his appearance at the Dodgers' inaugural FanFest.
More than 9,000 fans took part in the FanFest presented by State Farm. The event, which took place in the parking lot behind the outfield pavilion, ran more than seven hours and included autograph opportunities, games and on-stage player interviews.
When Kemp, who is currently on the disabled list, took the stage, he was asked by a fan if he could sing happy birthday to that fan's family member. Kemp obliged.
"You always wonder what a fan would want to ask you, and they come up with some surprising questions," Kemp said, laughing.
The atmosphere, Kemp said, was impressive. But it's nothing he didn't expect, having played for Dodgers fans the last six seasons.
"They were chanting and screaming and doing a lot out there," Kemp said. "They're definitely excited about this season and what's going on around here. We're excited, too. We feed off that."
Almost every current Dodgers player made the trip out beyond center field to interact with the fans. So, too, did a handful of former players, legendary announcer Vin Scully and manager Don Mattingly.
Catcher A.J. Ellis was among the players at the FanFest. He signed autographs, and he said the fans were extremely encouraging in thanking him for his hot start.
"It was the first time I've ever done something like that in all my time here," Ellis said. "It was a really neat event. Even that long before the first pitch, seeing all the fans out there and the excitement and the people, it's just a reminder for all of us who we're playing for."
Adrian Gonzalez, a Dodgers fan from nearby San Pedro, called the event "the best thing in the world."
"You can't ask for anything else," he said. "Free autographs, good music and good people."
M. Ellis out six weeks after 'urgent' procedure
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis underwent an "urgent" procedure on his left leg Saturday and will be sidelined at least six weeks, trainer Sue Falsone said after the club's win over the Cardinals.
Ellis exited Friday's game when he was upended on a hard slide by St. Louis second baseman Tyler Greene.
On Saturday, Ellis underwent a fasciotomy, which team doctors said drained blood and fluid from a contusion in his lower left leg, relieving tension and pressure in the leg. Ellis will remain hospitalized until Tuesday.
"He came in today uncomfortable, it didn't look great," Falsone said. "So we sent him over to the hospital. They did some different testing. Basically what they do is test the pressures inside the leg. He had pressure in his leg to the point where he needed a fasciotomy."
Ellis is hitting .273 this season with two homers and an on-base clip of .373. Hitting in the No. 2 spot, he was a vital part of the Dodgers' lineup, getting on base in front of the club's best hitters.
It's the latest blow to a Dodgers squad that has seen Matt Kemp, Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Uribe and Juan Rivera hit the DL in the last two weeks.
"He's one of those guys that the more you see him, the better he is," manager Don Mattingly said of Ellis. "It just gets better and better with him. So, again, it's tough. He's a tough guy to replace."
Elian Herrera started at second in Saturday night's game, but Mattingly said his decision will be "matchup-oriented" in the future. Ivan DeJesus was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he was hitting .275 this season, as Ellis was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Mattingly listed DeJesus, Justin Sellers, Adam Kennedy and Hairston, when he returns next week, as other options.
Falsone said no future operations are likely for Ellis, and as far as she knows, there was no damage done to his left knee. Still, the club plans to run future tests on it to be certain.
She called Saturday's operation "very successful," noting that the nerves and the tissue in his lower left leg were healthy -- a result of the fasciotomy.
Ellis was shaken up on the play in the seventh inning of Friday's game, but stayed in the lineup and even batted in the bottom half before being replaced for the eighth inning.
As for Greene's slide, Mattingly said he felt there was nothing dirty about the play. On a potential double play ball, Greene slid at a bit of an angle and hit Ellis' left leg hard with his own leg. He remained in the basepath while doing so.
"We felt like it was clean," Mattingly said. "It was a good hard slide. Sometimes you just can't -- even though you know it's coming -- get out of the way."
Hairston targeting Wednesday return
LOS ANGELES -- Eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, Jerry Hairston Jr. is hopeful he'll be available -- if not Tuesday, then at least Wednesday for the final game of the Dodgers' three-game set against Arizona.
Hairston, who went on the DL on May 7 with a left hamstring strain, ran the bases before Friday's game against the Cardinals. He'll likely play two rehab games, though it's still unclear where, before he makes his return to the Dodgers.
The biggest hurdle that Hairston, who was hitting .315 with a .403 on-base percentage at the time of the injury, cleared on Saturday was stopping and starting while running.
"I just wanted to test it a little bit," Hairston said. "Today was the day we wanted to test it and see where I was at. Hopefully, I'll be getting in a game or two really soon, and hopefully join the team really soon."
Manager Don Mattingly said it's likely Hairston's rehab stint will begin Monday, which would put him on track for a Wednesday return.
Though Hairston has spent most of his time this season at third base or in left field, he could see plenty of action at second base when he returns. Second baseman Mark Ellis was placed on the disabled list prior to Saturday's game.
Hairston going down seemed to set off a rash of Dodgers injuries. He was the first of five Dodgers that have been to the DL in the last two weeks.
"It's not all bleak. Everything has kind of happened in a clump here, but I still feel good," Mattingly said. "It's not like these are all long-term things. We're going to get Jerry back here in a few days."
Mattingly sitting slumping Gordon for a few days
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers shortstop and leadoff man Dee Gordon wasn't in Saturday's starting lineup, and it's likely he won't be in the lineup for the next few days either, manager Don Mattingly said.
Mattingly plans to use the slumping Gordon in a bench role to try to help him clear his head. Gordon's average dipped to .200 after an 0-for-5 night Friday.
"Nothing has really changed in my thinking about Dee, or what I think he's going to become, or where he's going to end up," Mattingly said. It's just going fast. ... He's going to be a better player for this."
Mattingly was unclear as to when Gordon would return to the starting nine, but he indicated it likely won't be until after the Dodgers' three-game series next week in Arizona.
Gordon's role as the team's leadoff man has come into question given his .239 on-base percentage, and Mattingly said he isn't sure where he'll bat Gordon in his next start. Tony Gwynn Jr. hit first in Gordon's place Saturday against the Cardinals, and he has done so a few other times this season. Justin Sellers started at shortstop and batted eighth.
Mattingly watched video of Gordon's swing after Friday's game and saw no noticeable differences from last September, when Gordon's bat caught fire. He said that means Gordon's struggles seem almost entirely mental.
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.