04/17/2013 11:05 PM ET
Mattingly gives struggling Kemp a break
By Ken Gurnick and Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- For the first time this season, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly filled out a lineup card that didn't include Matt Kemp, as the struggling center fielder started Wednesday night's series finale against the Padres on the bench.
Kemp is off to slow start with a .185 average (10-for-54), no home runs, four RBIs and a .224 on-base percentage.
"I'm just not doing what I need to be doing right now," Kemp said.
Kemp took early batting practice on the field at Dodger Stadium before Wednesday's game.
"I think the ball that's down has been giving him some problems, and the ball that's moving," said Mattingly.
Mattingly thinks Kemp has been pressing to get out of his funk lately, and that's doing more harm than good.
"When things aren't going right, you have a tendency to want to kind of make it happen, and that's some more trouble," Mattingly said before Wednesday's game. "When you're struggling, you want to go get it and make it happen. It's kind of like trying to find that balance is tough at the plate."
How will being out of the lineup help Kemp?
"Sometimes it just helps to sit back and watch a game where you're not having to be out there," said Mattingly, who added that Kemp would be available off the bench.
Said Kemp, "I don't ever want to sit out. I want to play baseball games. But I didn't make the lineup out tonight, Donnie B. did. He told me I needed a night off, and I respect him for that."
That lineup has right fielder Andre Ethier in the No. 3 hole instead of Kemp. Ethier is hitting .261 with one homer and three RBIs.
Skip Schumaker got the start in center field and hit sixth. Schumaker replaced Kemp in center in the top of the seventh inning during Tuesday's 9-2 loss.
The Dodgers have scored 39 runs in their first 14 games, second fewest in the National League. They will look to break out of their collective funk without Kemp, though.
Kershaw is fastest Dodger to 1,000 K's
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw will tally many more strikeouts in his Major League career, but he recorded one to remember on Wednesday night against the Padres.
Kershaw struck out San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso on a 93-mph fastball in the second inning, the 1,000th of his career, hitting the milestone in fewer career innings (970) than the club's previous record holder, Sandy Koufax (990).
Kershaw is the 13th Dodgers pitcher to record at least 1,000 strikeouts, and the second-youngest, at 25 years, 29 days. He was beat to the mark by Fernando Valenzuela, who hit the milestone at 24 years, 303 days.
Kershaw, who entered Wednesday's game tied for third in the National League with 25 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings, has struck out at least 212 in each of the last three seasons.
Capuano's injury tied to fracas in San Diego
LOS ANGELES -- The left calf strain that sent Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano to the disabled list on Wednesday surfaced before Thursday's game in San Diego and became worse during the benches-clearing incident that sidelined Zack Greinke.
Capuano said the tightness he felt before that game became tighter while he sprinted in from the bullpen during the fracas that was triggered when Greinke hit Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin with a pitch.
Capuano said he thought the injury had responded enough to four days of treatment to allow him to start Tuesday night in Greinke's place, only for the muscle to partially tear when he sprinted off the mound to cover first base in the second inning.
As a result, the Dodgers put Capuano on the 15-day disabled list, recalled Tim Federowicz to be the backup catcher, freeing backup catcher Ramon Hernandez to serve as designated hitter for the Interleague series in Baltimore that opens on Friday.
Capuano will have an MRI exam and receive a platelet-rich plasma injection on Thursday, then join the club on the road. Ted Lilly, who made a third rehab start on Tuesday night, is expected to be activated to start on April 24 in New York.
"During the fight, I definitely felt the calf was sore," said Capuano. "I pitched in that game and didn't feel it, but probably from the adrenaline of pitching. It was sore the next few days, but we treated it and all indications were that it was ready to go."
Capuano said the injury felt better on Wednesday than it did Tuesday night. He said he had a similar strain during Spring Training three years ago.
Federowicz made the Opening Day roster, but was sent down when the Dodgers acquired the veteran Hernandez from Colorado for starting pitcher Aaron Harang. In four games with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, Federowicz hit .533 (8-for-15) with two homers and six RBIs.
Hairston drops appeal, sits out Wednesday
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers utility man Jerry Hairston dropped the appeal of his one-game suspension and served it by missing Wednesday night's game against the Padres.
Hairston was suspended for charging toward the San Diego dugout at the conclusion of last Thursday night's brawl that left Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke with a broken collarbone and Carlos Quentin with an eight-game suspension for causing it by charging the mound after being hit by a Greinke pitch.
Hairston later explained he reacted to an unnamed Padres player Hairston felt was chiding the injured Greinke.
Despite losing Hairston for Wednesday night's game, the Dodgers weren't short-handed in position players, because they also recalled catcher Tim Federowicz and placed pitcher Chris Capuano on the disabled list.
The moves left the Dodgers thin in the bullpen for Wednesday night, with relievers having pitched nine of the last 12 innings against the Padres. Manager Don Mattingly said the club was willing to take that chance with ace Clayton Kershaw starting the game.
"We got the right guy on the mound," Mattingly said. "You don't ever know what's going to happen. Because of logistics of off and ons and things like that, we're rolling the dice a little bit today. Counting on Kersh. We still got four guys."
Greinke regrets not telling Ellis of history with Quentin
LOS ANGELES -- With his left arm in a sling on Wednesday afternoon in the Dodgers' clubhouse, starter Zack Greinke said he regrets not telling catcher A.J. Ellis about his history with Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, information that may have prevented the broken left collarbone Greinke sustained during Thursday's benches-clearing incident in San Diego.
When Greinke hit Quentin with a 3-2 pitch in the sixth inning of a one-run game, Ellis didn't think the outfielder would be inclined to charge the mound. The catcher didn't know it was the third time Greinke had hit Quentin with a pitch in his career, and therefore didn't jump out of his stance to block Quentin's path to the mound.
Ellis said he's feeling guilty for not protecting his starter, who underwent surgery to repair his broken collarbone on Saturday.
Greinke and Quentin first had issues in July 2008, when Greinke first hit Quentin with a pitch. At that time, Greinke pitched for the Royals and Quentin played for the rival White Sox.
"I told A.J. that I should have told him," Greinke said before Wednesday night's game against the Padres. "I knew anyone with the White Sox has always labeled me as someone that does stuff. I didn't think it would happen. Looking back on it, I probably should have warned him, because I know he would feel a lot better about it."
Greinke also regrets lowering his left shoulder to absorb the impact of the charging Quentin, 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds.
"It's just one of those things that you think about how you'd react when the time comes, but when the time came you're not really thinking straight and you're just kind of reacting," Greinke said. "I would never have planned on doing it that way, that's for sure. I definitely wish I didn't. Everything I do, my natural reaction is to avoid my right arm. So at least I was smart enough to do that. Obviously it wasn't the best way to do it."
Greinke is likely to be sidelined until mid-June. He has a metal plate in his collarbone that's stabilizing the fracture, and wears a sling most days.
"It's healing quickly, I feel like," Greinke said. "I'm just doing what I can to get healthy as soon as possible and be as strong as possible when I come back."