03/08/2013 11:50 PM ET
Kemp facing mental hurdles in rehab process
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Going into Friday's action, Matt Kemp was 0-for-8 with three strikeouts, a couple of flyouts to the warning track and the lingering memory of a shoulder that required surgical repair in October.
"I need to [let it go]," said Kemp. "Adrian [Gonzalez, who had similar surgery] told me to just let it go. I need to swing like I swing. It's still in the back of my mind."
Manager Don Mattingly, who lived the unsteady life of a rehabbing ballplayer because of chronic back issues, can appreciate the psychological hurdles Kemp faces in his return from left shoulder surgery.
"I talked to Matt in the weight room and it's still, I think, in the back of his mind a little bit," said Mattingly. "He has to let it loose. The more at-bats he doesn't feel anything, the more he's fine the next day, then he can just go out and play.
"He talked about not feeling athletic. He's been rehabbing, really, since he had the hammy [hamstring issue last May] in a sense. He's been playing handicapped. He's ready to get to where he can just go play. That is a hurdle. When you're in rehab mode, it takes energy mentally. It will be nice when he can just come to the park and just play."
Kemp, who took a called third strike in his only at-bat of Friday's rained-out game against the Giants, said he's still looking for the rhythm of his swing.
"I've got 24 days to get it, and if I go into the first game and don't have it, I still wouldn't be worried because I've got 161 more games," said Kemp. "It's a long season. Trust me, I will find it before the season is over with."
Kemp said he needs to apply the same mentality for his shoulder that he finally did with the hamstring muscle he pulled last year.
"If it goes, it goes," he said. "There's nothing wrong with me. There's nothing I'm really worried about."
Capuano gets in four innings despite bad weather
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Capuano got his work in Friday, but it wasn't easy.
He made the short drive from his Scottsdale home to join the Dodgers for their road day game against the Giants, planning to relieve Ted Lilly, but the game was rained out in the second inning before Capuano could warm up.
The staff decided he would instead start a split-squad home night game in Glendale, but the rain and rush-hour traffic turned his 35-minute drive into a 1 1/2-hour ordeal.
So Capuano started the game and it immediately began raining again, continuing until umpires called it after four innings with the Dodgers leading, 3-1. Scott Van Slyke drove in a pair of runs on a double.
Capuano proved to be an effective bad-weather pitcher, overcoming the rain and temperatures in the 40s to allow one run on two hits over four innings with three strikeouts.
"One of those crazy, weird days of Spring Training," said Capuano, who is battling for a rotation spot.
Capuano said he will get an extra day of rest after this start, returning to game action next Thursday.
Lilly's return truncated by bad weather
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After missing a start with the flu, Ted Lilly returned to game action for 10 whole pitches Friday until a hailstorm interrupted a Dodgers-Giants game that later was rained out.
Lilly made another 25 throws in the bullpen after the rain stopped. He struck out Joaquin Arias before allowing a two-out double to Hunter Pence, bringing up Buster Posey when the skies opened.
"I definitely wanted to pitch with Posey up and a guy on second," said Lilly. "A situation like that, I have to make a pitch against a good hitter. I need those things."
Lilly is coming off shoulder surgery, but he's talking and acting with the confidence of someone 100 percent healed.
"If I was having health problems, I think that would be tough," he said of the starts and stops that accompanied the game. "I had no problem getting loose. The last time in the 'pen I took a few more to get loose. I feel fortunate right now. I feel like the shoulder issue is over and I'm really working on timing and a few things with my delivery."
Because of the short outing, Lilly said he might come back with another start in four days instead of five.
Also washed away were the four runs the Dodgers scored in the first one inning-plus. Juan Uribe, Yasiel Puig and Alex Castellanos had RBI hits. Justin Sellers, who tripled to lead off the second, scored on a Giants error that turned out to be the last play of the game.
Greinke sharp in bullpen session
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke, who missed Sunday's bullpen session with minor forearm tightness and missed a Wednesday start because of the flu, threw an impressive bullpen session Friday with no discomfort from either.
As two athletic trainers and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt watched and manager Don Mattingly stood in both batter's boxes, Greinke threw all of his pitches under the roof of the batting cage with solid command and reported no problems.
"It felt good," he said. "I feel a lot better after being sick earlier in the week. I'm good to have my workout now."
Greinke clearly was more affected by the flu than the arm stiffness, although the management that signed him to a $147 million contract was holding its breath.
"It's really nothing serious," he said. "It's just something I deal with sometimes in Spring Training, and sometimes during the season."
Greinke was pleased with the command of all of his pitches and Mattingly shook his head approvingly at the nastier ones. Greinke said feedback from a former batting champ like Mattingly is helpful, to a point.
"Now I want to see how the hitters respond in the game," said Greinke. "In the 'pen, everything can feel sharp. Sometimes in the 'pen it looks really good, but the hitters can tell you it's not as good as you think. Other times you feel that it's not as good, but to the hitters it's not easy to see."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.