04/15/2013 10:47 PM ET
Dodgers working to find hitch in Kemp's swing
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Four hours before game time, struggling Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp took early batting practice with manager Don Mattingly watching and hitting coach Mark McGwire instructing.
Kemp, coming off shoulder labrum surgery, is hitting .174 with no homers, four RBIs and a .459 OPS. Mattingly said he's convinced Kemp is healthy.
"The biggest thing, does he have some habits he needs to get through?" Mattingly said. "I don't feel he's unhealthy. We watch BP and his swings and they're good. It could be the lingering effect to get past, habits could be lingering from last year."
Kemp was injured running into the center-field fence in Coors Field on Aug. 28 but insisted on playing as long as the Dodgers were contending for a postseason berth. It's implied by Mattingly that Kemp picked up bad mechanical habits compensating for the pain while he hit.
Lilly reconsiders, will make another start in Minors
LOS ANGELES -- Ted Lilly changed his mind and accepted one more Minor League rehab start on Tuesday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
After deciding to replace the injured Zack Greinke in the starting rotation with Chris Capuano, the Dodgers on Saturday asked Lilly to take two more rehab starts and he declined, saying he was ready to pitch effectively at the Major League level.
Lilly, coming off shoulder surgery, opened the season on the disabled list after having his Spring Training interrupted by the flu and a rain-shortened start. At the time, there were no spots left in the starting rotation for Lilly, Capuano and Aaron Harang.
Since then, Harang has been traded and Greinke has been shelved two months with a broken collarbone suffered in a brawl with Carlos Quentin and the Padres on Thursday night.
Lilly has made two Minor League starts in the last 12 days, allowing 10 earned runs in 11 innings, with fastball velocity increasing in his start last Wednesday for Triple-A Albuquerque. But management believes he still needs more work.
Tentatively, Lilly will start Tuesday for Rancho Cucamonga. He will throw a bullpen session, probably Friday in Baltimore, before being activated. Then he figures to be in the bullpen barring another injury to a starting pitcher.
In part because Lilly was physically able to make only eight starts last year, the Dodgers signed free agents Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu over the winter to start the year with eight veteran starting pitchers.
Mattingly, Black call truce before series opener
LOS ANGELES -- If there is retaliation after last week's brawl between the Dodgers and Padres, it will happen despite phone calls from MLB executive vice president Joe Torre to managers Don Mattingly and Bud Black, and despite a brief meeting between the managers during batting practice Monday to call a truce.
The conversations were intended to defuse leftover tension from Thursday night, when Dodgers starter Zack Greinke hit Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin in left arm with a 3-2 pitch and a one-run lead. Quentin charged the mound and Greinke suffered a broken collarbone that required surgery and will sideline him for two months.
After the game, Quentin and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had to be separated as they left the stadium. Quentin is serving an eight-game suspension for his part in the melee, while Dodgers utilityman Jerry Hairston is appealing a one-game suspension he received for charging the Padres dugout.
"I'm sure if [Quentin] was playing tonight it would have escalated a little bit," Mattingly said.
Torre's phone call essentially served as an unofficial warning, without formally putting both clubs on notice that there would be automatic suspensions if a batter was hit by a pitch.
"I talked to Joe," Mattingly confirmed. "He just wanted to make sure we kept things in perspective today -- it's Jackie Robinson Day. We're here to win a game, to be honest."
Mattingly also held a quick meeting with members of his pitching staff during stretching to remind them of the task at hand.
"We'll make sure we keep our composure," he said. "We're here to win a game. We're not here to lose players."
Black said afterward that the issue "is over" from his team's side.
"Don and I got the same call," he said. "This is the way it should be -- sensible. What happened, happened, and it ends. He wanted both teams to know what it was all about."
Tolleson lands on DL; Wall called up to join bullpen
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers placed right-handed reliever Shawn Tolleson on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain before Monday night's game and recalled right-handed reliever Josh Wall from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Tolleson made one appearance after replacing Zack Greinke on the roster, walking the only two batters he faced Saturday in Arizona.
Wall, who pitched well enough in Spring Training to make most staffs, had a 2.08 ERA in four games for Albuquerque, but also walked three in 4 1/3 innings.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.