7/9/2013 10:04 P.M. ET
Lilly asks Dodgers to move him into relief role
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Dodgers left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly, frustrated with his third stint on the disabled list this season, told club officials Tuesday to try him as a reliever.
Lilly hasn't made a relief appearance since 2003, but he's now 37 and concedes that he can't manage a chronic neck problem with a starter's workload.
"Ideally, I'd like to be a starter and be effective in that role," said Lilly. "I've had a hard time staying healthy. I pitched Saturday [rehab start at Class A Rancho Cucamonga], and it was sore Sunday. Yesterday, it was pretty good."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seemed pleased to hear that Lilly would embrace a relief role because lefties J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez have evolved into set-up roles and Lilly could assume a situational left-hander position.
"We'll give it a shot," said Mattingly. "Rick [Honeycutt, pitching coach] will set up a sim game tomorrow and every other day, and we'll see what it looks like. Ted said the best chance for him would be out of the bullpen. I want to be open-minded and see what it looks like."
Lilly is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in five starts, but his season began on the disabled list coming off last year's surgery. He returned after missing 19 games, but a week later was disabled with a strained ribcage muscle. He returns after missing 17 games, but two weeks later was disabled with the neck issue and has been out a month.
Lilly will be a free agent after this season.
"I've thought about it. I've had a lot of down time to think," he said of his future. "I want to play if I can be effective. I'd like to play for a long time. I certainly don't want to be on the DL day after day. I'll play as long as I can, if I can be on the field."
Dodgers get positive report on Kemp's shoulder
PHOENIX -- The Dodgers received relatively good news Tuesday on the health of Matt Kemp, who went back on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
Kemp had an MRI exam on his sore left shoulder and was examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who confirmed Friday's diagnosis that Kemp had irritated the acromioclavicular (AC) joint where the collarbone meets the shoulder.
ElAttrache said the injury is unrelated to the surgery he performed on Kemp last year to repair a torn labrum and a frayed rotator cuff.
Manager Don Mattingly said he's optimistic that Kemp, who received a cortisone injection Friday night, would be on the DL the minimum 15 days.
"I think so," Mattingly said. "But I don't want to go out on a limb. I think 15 and he'll be ready to go, but I didn't think he would be disabled."
Mattingly initially said he didn't think Kemp would need a rehab assignment, then backpedaled and said "possibly."
Kemp felt pain in the shoulder on a swing and miss Friday night against the Giants. Mattingly said Kemp also had discomfort in the AC joint in earlier this year and last year.
Mattingly discusses Puig's reluctance with media
PHOENIX -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Tuesday defended rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig, whose reluctance with the media is drawing increasing scrutiny now that he's an All-Star Final Vote candidate.
"He's doing the best he can," Mattingly said of Puig, who has refused virtually all interview requests, will not make himself available before games and is available after games only occasionally. "It's been a big adjustment for him. It's a lot for him to handle.
"He wants to make sure his concentration is on baseball, and for us, it's the right thing to keep his priorities in line. In a way, there are certain things that come with it, at least the bare minimum, he'll talk after games."
Mattingly said Puig should be given some slack because he's 22 "with the world on a string."
"I've seen other guys not at their locker," he said. "He's not the first guy. We'd all like him to be a stand-up guy both ways. It's like him on the field, he gets caught stealing or misses the cutoff, they are areas to talk about and his teammates will help him along to handle it professionally."
Mattingly was asked if the club is concerned that Puig will be characterized by the media as a bad guy, as generally happens when a player doesn't speak to reporters.
"He's a good guy," replied Mattingly. "Yasiel is a good kid. It's a lot for him to handle. You've got to look at both sides. He just wants to play. It's not fair to throw all this at him and say, 'Handle it perfectly.' You'd like the guy to handle everything that comes with it. You have to be patient. At some point, he's not a kid and he'll have to make his own decisions."
Adrian drumming up Final Vote support for Puig
PHOENIX -- As a candidate for the All-Star Final Vote, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is doing a fine job as unofficial campaign manager for teammate and fellow candidate Yasiel Puig.
"Vote for me -- text N5," said Gonzalez, knowing that N5 is the code to vote for Puig.
Gonzalez essentially issued his concession speech Saturday, saying he would vote for Puig and he hoped the rookie would win the vote to make his first All-Star Game.
Gonzalez has four All-Star appearances, the first coming in 2008, his third full season in the Major Leagues.
• Second baseman Skip Schumaker changed his jersey number to 55 for Tuesday's game. He had previously worn 3 this season.
• Newly acquired reliever Carlos Marmol is scheduled to pitch one inning Wednesday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He could join the Dodgers by the weekend.
• Pitcher Shawn Tolleson, recovered from back surgery, threw a bullpen session Tuesday for manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. He hopes to return late this month.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.