5/29/2013 2:07 A.M. ET
Punto sits with lower back bruise
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers infielder Nick Punto is available to play on Tuesday night against the Angels, but was held out of the starting lineup because of a lower back bruise.
Punto said he was "a little stiff," but expects to return to the starting lineup as soon as Wednesday.
"It's nothing I'm worried about," Punto said before receiving treatment. "It's just a bone bruise. I thought it would be more sore than it was."
The veteran, playing shortstop, injured his back in the second inning on Monday, when he somersaulted over Angels baserunner Erick Aybar and landed on his back during a force play at second base. Punto remained in the game until the sixth inning.
Punto felt good enough to take batting practice in the cage before Tuesday's game.
Luis Cruz started at shortstop in place of Punto on Tuesday, his first start at the position since April 27.
Kemp exits after HBP causes numbness
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was hit on his right elbow by a Joe Blanton pitch in the second inning of Tuesday night's 3-0 win over the Angels, causing numbness that led to his removal from the game in the ninth.
Kemp said he hopes to play on Wednesday when the Freeway Series resumes in Anaheim, but will have to see how his elbow responds.
"The ball took off inside," Kemp said. "Joe wasn't trying to do it on purpose. He busted me in and said he was sorry. It got me really good. It hit a nerve by the elbow and gave me a numbing sensation the rest of the game."
By the seventh inning, Kemp had informed manager Don Mattingly that he was experiencing some numbness in his elbow. The manager replaced Kemp in center field with Skip Schumaker in the top of the ninth.
"As the game went on, he didn't feel like he could throw," Mattingly said. "I think he probably had some inflammation in there. He got hit pretty good, because right away it was hurting."
Kemp told Mattingly that he was not limited at the plate, only in the field. He batted fifth for the first time since 2010, and went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored after he was hit by the pitch. Kemp just missed his third home run of the season on a deep fly ball in the fourth that Angels center fielder Mike Trout hauled in on the warning track.
"I hit the ball hard, just too high," Kemp said.
Mattingly said after the game that he does not expect to keep Kemp in the No. 5 hole for an extended period.
Adrian not happy with his defense
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is not pleased with his defense this season.
Gonzalez committed an error on a bunt in the second inning on Monday, his second in the past four games. His six errors in 45 games at first base this season are his most since 2010, when he had eight with the Padres in 159 games.
"I am disappointed with the way I'm playing defense," said Gonzalez, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner. "Not so much ground balls, but like the line drive off my glove or the popup down the line. Those are plays I need to make."
Gonzalez was on the field early at Dodger Stadium taking ground balls before Tuesday's Interleague game against the Angels, something he was unable to do over the past few weeks because of a strained neck. Now that he's not limited by that injury, the All-Star can expand his pregame routine.
"Coming out early, I can work on things like my throws without all the stuff that goes on during regular batting practice with balls flying all around," Gonzalez said. "I can get more repetitions and get in synch."
While Gonzalez was working on ground balls, those are plays that have not given him trouble. He has two errors on flips to first base, one on the bunt, one on a fly ball, one for coming off the bag early and another on a tough hop.
"On the flips, I've had some miscommunication with the pitchers and that's my fault," Gonzalez said. "I've got to read them better. Those are my errors and I need to do a better job. It's frustrating."
Hanley could hit Minors on Thursday
LOS ANGELES -- Injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez could begin a Minor League rehab assignment as early as Thursday, according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Ramirez tested his strained left hamstring by running the bases on Tuesday for the second straight day. He also fielded ground balls and took batting practice on the field before the Dodgers' game against the Angels.
"Hanley was really good today," Mattingly said. "It sounds like if everything goes well, Hanley is getting close to going out [on a rehab assignment] later this week, maybe Thursday or Friday."
Ramirez has been limited to only four games with the Dodgers this season. He began the year on the disabled list, recovering from the surgery on his right thumb he underwent to treat an injury sustained while playing for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic. Ramirez returned earlier than projected, only to strain his hamstring running from first base to third on May 3 in San Francisco.
Fife starts rehab stint with Rancho Cucamonga
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers right-hander Stephen Fife began a Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday night, pitching four innings with Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
Fife, recovering from right shoulder bursitis, allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits against Lancaster. He struck out three against one walk and gave up a two-run homer.
Fife began the season at Triple-A Albuquerque and was called up on April 21 to start at Baltimore in place of the injured Chad Billingsley. Fife allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in that outing, and went on the disabled list later that week.
He is one of six Dodgers starters to spend time on the DL this season.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.