05/29/12 10:05 PM ET
Kemp excited to be back in lineup
By Alex Angert and Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Claiming his left hamstring strain was fully healed, Kemp returned to his familiar No. 3 spot in manager Don Mattingly's lineup against the Brewers. The National League's Player of the Month for April, Kemp was hoping to regain his stroke against an unfamiliar right-hander named Michael Fiers, who made his first Major League start.
"I'm ready to go," Kemp said, having ripped Triple-A pitching (5-for-7, two homers) in two rehab games for Albuquerque. "I actually feel good. I don't even feel [the hamstring strain]. I'm definitely confident in my leg."
Kemp is hitting .359, with 12 homers and 28 RBIs in 34 games. He owns a .726 slugging percentage, and .446 on-base marks in 117 at-bats. The Dodgers have maintained their winning ways (9-5 in his absence), and continued to deliver a productive offense largely because of the contributions of A.J. Ellis, Tony Gwynn, Andre Ethier and Jerry Hairston Jr.
"They've done a great job playing good baseball," Kemp said. "I'm back, and it's time to go to work. A lot of guys are stepping up doing a great job. Tony and A.J. are getting big hits.
"It definitely shows the character of the team, our chemistry. If one person doesn't get the job done, another person does. That's what it takes to be a winning team. We've lost Mark [Ellis], Juan [Rivera], me, [Juan] Uribe. Those are four starters. To step up and do what they've done is incredible."
Kemp, who strained the hamstring on May 14, said "it feels like a month" that he's been away.
"I woke up today feeling like it's Opening Day," he said. That might be a good omen. Kemp had two hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs in a 5-3 Opening Day victory at San Diego.
Dodgers' lineup in flux as regulars return
LOS ANGELES -- Now that Matt Kemp is back from the disabled list, manager Don Mattingly is in search of a new lineup that works, starting at the top.
While the center fielder was on the DL for the last two weeks, Mattingly used Kemp's replacement, Tony Gwynn, to bat leadoff, moving the struggling Dee Gordon down to eighth. Before going 0-for-4 Monday night, Gordon, the Opening Day leadoff hitter, was hitting 8-for-18 since hitting at to the bottom of the lineup.
Against the right-handed Michael Fiers on Tuesday, Gwynn will remain in the leadoff spot, shifting over to left field to replace Bobby Abreu, who hits lefties better.
Mattingly added that Gwynn has swung the bat well recently, and he's earned him some more playing time. However, like the rest of the lineup with guys now coming back, the manager couldn't commit to a defined spot for the outfielder.
"It kind of all depends for me with who we got going, where our next couple of games are, how that's matching up, who we are trying to give a day off to," Mattingly said.
With Juan Rivera nearing his return, Mattingly said he'll need to mix and match certain guys, with a number of players like Gwynn and Abreu stepping up lately.
"We'll see where it goes," Mattingly said twice before adding that he'll figure it out.
Rivera, Uribe hope to be back soon
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers welcomed back one Opening Day starter on Tuesday, and they expect the return of another real soon.
Manager Don Mattingly said outfielder Juan Rivera, who has been on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain since May 9, should be back with the team when they travel to Colorado on Friday.
"When we first talked about it, and [trainer Sue Falsone] just reminded me, we were talking six weeks, and we're at 19 days," Mattingly said. "So this guy is way ahead of schedule."
Rivera went 2-for-5 with three RBIs during a two-game rehab assignment with the Albuquerque Isotopes. However, he said he still doesn't feel 100 percent, and he plans to play one or two games for Class A Rancho Cucamonga before returning.
"I want to get my timing and see how I feel in the knee," Rivera said. "It was a little sore after the second game. Today it's good, better than the day before. They said it would take two months, but I want to come back before that, so I did treatment here and at home, alternate hot and cold. I think that helped me a lot, helped me come back early."
Mattingly added Juan Uribe, who hit the disabled list on May 14 with a left wrist injury, is doing better as well.
"He actually is a little irritated they aren't letting him hit today," Mattingly said. "He's been in the cage a couple of days, and it sounds like he's going to hit BP tomorrow."
Images of Scully bobblehead released
LOS ANGELES -- The images of the Vin Scully bobblehead presented by Farmer John were released on Tuesday. The bobblehead will be given away to fans with the first 50,000 valid tickets on Aug. 30, when the Dodgers face Arizona.
The Vin Scully bobblehead will be the tenth and final bobblehead given away during the season as part of the Dodger Stadium Greats Bobblehead series, which has already honored past players such as Orel Hershiser, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills.
A bobblehead of "The Infield" quartet of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey was given away before Tuesday's game.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexanderAngert. Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.