5/31/2013 2:35 A.M. ET
With Kemp out, Dodgers mull options in center
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Dodgers are in need of an everyday center fielder with Matt Kemp sidelined for at least two weeks by a mild right hamstring strain.
Andre Ethier shifted from right field to start in center field on Thursday for only the second time in his career. Scott Van Slyke started in right.
But manager Don Mattingly said that Ethier is only a short-term option in center field. The manger feels the same way about Skip Schumaker, who has been Kemp's backup this season.
"We're looking for a true center fielder," Mattingly said. "We'll see where we go."
Management is leaning toward promoting an outfielder from Triple-A Albuquerque, where Tony Gwynn, Elian Herrera, Matt Angle and Nick Buss have spent time in center field.
"That's what it feels like to me, more than anything else," Mattingly said.
At this point, the Dodgers say they are not considering bringing up top prospects Yasiel Puig or Joc Pederson from Double-A Chattanooga. Puig has been playing the corner outfield spots, while Pederson has been the primary center fielder with the Lookouts.
Puig played center field on Thursday, though, with Pederson scheduled to have the day off. Only Herrera and Puig are on the 40-man rotser.
Mattingly said the Dodgers' player development personnel would make any decisions regarding a promotion for Puig and Pederson, though the manager cautioned that it might be too early to call either outfielder up to the Major Leagues.
"You end up hurting those guys sometimes," Mattingly said. "It sounds great, but it ends up hurting them in the long run."
The manager said the Dodgers would promote a center fielder from the Minor Leagues by the end of the weekend.
As for Ethier, he played center field only once last season and once during the 2010 All-Star Game. Ethier said Mattingly asked him to play center field on Thursday and he obliged.
"The whole year we've been figuring out a way to patch up things where guys are hurt and have injuries," Ethier said. "It needed to be done today."
Hamstring strain sends Kemp to 15-day DL
ANAHEIM -- For the second straight season, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is on the disabled list because of a hamstring issue.
Kemp was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, the result of a mild right hamstring strain. Last season, Kemp missed more than two months with a left hamstring strain.
In a corresponding roster move, the Dodgers recalled catcher Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque.
"It's disappointing," Kemp said. "This is my second year being hurt. It's a small little obstacle, but I'm used to playing every day. The second year getting hurt is kind of frustrating. But it's part of the game and I've just got to deal with it.
"It's something that can be worse, so you prevent it now and you don't want to linger on the whole year. So I'll get it taken care of right now. The earlier, the better."
Last season, Kemp rushed back from the disabled list after missing 14 games. But he required a second stint on the disabled list after aggravating the injury two games into his return and missed an additional 37 games. But Kemp said he's learned from that.
"I had hamstring problems last year, I don't want to be in the same situation where I come back and hurt it again and sit out another month," Kemp said. "That's just not what I want to happen this year."
Kemp strained his right hamstring while pursuing a double in the gap in right-center in the bottom of the seventh inning during Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Angels. He was immediately removed from the game.
Kemp said he would continue to hit, and weight train to strengthen his left shoulder following offseason surgery that has zapped him of his power. He's hitting .251 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 51 games.
"I never want to be away from the game, but I have to at this moment because I'm hurt," Kemp said. "I'm just going to work, hit, do everything that I have to do to be ready right when I come off the DL. I can hit as much as I want, it's just the running."
The Dodgers are optimistic that Kemp will be sidelined for around 15 days.
Manager Don Mattingly said Kemp could have avoided a DL stint if the medical staff was confident he would miss only a few games, but that was not the case.
"If it was going to be three or four, I think we would have bit that bullet," Mattingly said. "But it didn't sound like it was real confident that it would be three or four, though. It didn't sound like a major one, either. So we kind of get a bullet but don't take it in an artery."
Andre Ethier made his second career start in center field on Thursday, with Scott Van Slyke in right field. Mattingly said the Dodgers expect to promote a center fielder from the Minor Leagues by the end of the weekend, though he did not mention specific candidates.
Ellis nurses oblique issue as Federowicz gets start
ANAHEIM -- Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is dealing with an issue in his left oblique, manager Don Mattingly said on Thursday.
Ellis was held out of the lineup for Thursday's Freeway Series finale against the Angels.
"We feel like it's a day or two days," Mattingly said on Thursday afternoon. "We'll see how that goes."
Could Ellis require a stint on the disabled list?
"If this thing would go the wrong direction, it would be [a DL situation]," Mattingly said.
Ellis played Tuesday's game against the Angels with discomfort in his left side, but was able to throw out Erick Aybar attempting to steal second and went 1-for-3. The catcher dealt with a similar issue during Spring Training, but only missed a few days.
With Ellis' health in question, the Dodgers recalled catcher Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday to fill the roster spot that opened when Matt Kemp was placed on the disabled list with a mild right hamstring strain.
Federowicz was the starting catcher on Thursday, with veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez getting the start as the designated hitter.
Beckett to see specialist about finger numbness
ANAHEIM -- Injured Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett will see a nerve specialist on Monday, the next step in determining the cause of the numbing sensation in his fingers.
Beckett is scheduled to visit Dr. Gregory Pearl in Dallas, Texas, the same surgeon who operated on Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter's right shoulder last season.
Beckett, on the disabled list with a left groin strain, had his throwing program shut down last week after the numbness in his fingers continued during a bullpen session.
"The frustrating thing that I'm having right now is I don't have pain, I just have ineffectiveness and numbness where I can't actually feel the baseball," Beckett said on Thursday.
Beckett is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts this season. He said he continued to pitch despite the lingering issue because the Dodgers were short on starters earlier in the season after losing Chad Billingsley for the year and dealing with Zack Greinke's broken left collarbone.
"It's something I've been dealing with," Beckett said of the numbness in his right fingers. "I'm not sure exactly when it came on. It wasn't painful. At the time we were losing starters left and right, so I felt like I needed to pitch because I didn't have any pain."
While Beckett is still searching for answers as to the source of the issue, his strained groin has progressed to the point where the veteran was able to run on Thursday.
"I don't think my groin is going to hold me back anymore once we figure out what's going on with the other stuff," Beckett said.
• The Dodgers reinstated right-hander Stephen Fife from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Fife began the season at Triple-A 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 2/3 innings in that outing and went on the disabled later that week with right shoulder bursitis.
Fife made a rehab start with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday and went four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.