7/19/2013 7:45 P.M. ET
Out with neck injury, Lilly throws simulated game
By Andrew Simon / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly threw a simulated game before his team's series opener against the Nationals on Friday, as he continues to come back from a neck injury.
Lilly said he threw about 20 pitches and used his whole arsenal while facing center fielder Matt Kemp, who also is on the disabled list. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the plan is for Lilly to do the same on Saturday, take a couple of days off, then throw a "multiple-inning" simulated game next week when the team is in Toronto.
Lilly said he "felt good" during the outing, but isn't sure when he will be ready to return. He hasn't pitched for the Dodgers since June 4 and has made five starts on the season while spending three stints on the DL. The 37-year-old made two rehab starts for Class A Rancho Cucamonga before the All-Star break, but wasn't sure if would need any additional rehab games.
Considering the toll the injuries have taken, Lilly's plan is to return to the Dodgers as a reliever, despite the fact he hasn't appeared in that role since 2003.
"That's what he's wanting to do," Mattingly said. "In Teddy's words -- and I don't want to totally put the words in his mouth -- but he's feeling like his body is not responding to 90 pitches, and he's got a better chance of responding to 20 or 25. He's thinking his body's going to hold up a little bit better in a relief role, and so that's what we're trying to do."
Kemp faces live pitching, eyes Sunday return
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp hit against live pitching before Friday's game against the Nationals, and said he feels ready to return on Sunday, the first day he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.
Kemp, who is out with an irritated AC joint in his left shoulder, does not believe he will need to go on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment. He last played on July 5, when he suffered the injury taking a swing.
"He's probably had enough of [rehab assignments]," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "There's a lot of guys who think they don't necessarily need them. Nobody wants them."
Kemp already missed 24 games earlier this season with a strained right hamstring. If he is activated Sunday, he will have sat out another 11.
Kemp took swings against left-hander Ted Lilly in a simulated game consisting of six or seven at-bats, and said he had no problems. The outfielder will do the same on Saturday. He said it's difficult to tell if he feels like himself until he gets into a real game.
"I don't know. We'll see when I start playing," Kemp said. "It's hard to tell. Practice is totally different from the game. But I feel good."
Kemp has hit .254 with a .666 OPS in 61 games this season, and now is trying to bounce back from an injury for the second time.
"It is what it is. You've got to deal with it," he said. "When you do come back, try to not get hurt. Just dealing with it. It can be frustrating at times, but it is what it is. Injuries are part of the game."
Puig part of rejuvenated LA trio back in lineup
WASHINGTON -- Taking advantage of the rest provided by the All-Star break, the Dodgers got three regulars back in their starting lineup for Friday night's series opener against the Nationals.
Left fielder Carl Crawford (stiff lower back), right fielder Yasiel Puig (sore left hip) and second baseman Mark Ellis (left knee) all were back in the lineup after missing some time with minor injuries late in the first half. Crawford led off against the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, Puig hit second and Ellis was in the No. 8 spot.
None of the three players started the team's first-half finale on Sunday against the Rockies. Puig entered in the fifth inning and played the rest of the way, going 1-for-3. Crawford missed his fifth straight start, but entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning and went 0-for-1. Ellis fouled a ball of his knee on Saturday and came out the game.
"Carl was pretty good that last day, and Yasiel was actually pretty good that last day back in L.A., so I had a pretty good feeling we'd come out of the break good," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Mark Ellis was the guy where I had a little question mark about how he'd come out, but he's come out pretty good. So we're pretty much ready to go."
Puig will be trying to get on track. In 10 games since he crashed into the right-field wall in Colorado on July 3, he is 11-for-42 (.262) with one extra-base hit, a .286 slugging percentage, one RBI and 13 strikeouts.
Crawford is making his first start since July 9.
Dodgers happy with Marmol's Minors progress
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said on Friday that reliever Carlos Marmol has "been throwing the ball good" at Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
The Dodgers acquired the veteran right-hander from the Cubs on July 2, and after Marmol cleared outright waivers, he accepted a Minor League assignment. In three appearances with the Quakes, he has given up two runs on four hits over three innings, walking one and striking out four.
"I think they're happy with his progress," Mattingly said. "So we'll make a decision here fairly quickly with Carlos, but everyone's happy with his progress and the work and effort he's put in.
"He's going to throw a couple more times, and we'll make a decision."
The 30-year-old was dominant at times during his tenure as the Cubs' closer but also fought bouts of wildness. He walked 6.8 batters per nine innings for Chicago this season and posted a 5.86 ERA in 31 appearances.
"We know his stuff is good," Mattingly said. "It's a matter of getting him more reps to be able to be a little more consistent. He's been pitching a long time. We're not going to change the world, give him this whole makeover. We're just trying to help him be a little more consistent. … We're allowing enough time to work on some stuff and hopefully gain some consistency, and he's a guy who can hopefully help us."
• Mattingly said the team's workout at Nationals Park was modified a bit to account for the weather in Washington, where the heat index climbed well over 100.
• Of the All-Star break, Mattingly said: "It was a time to basically ask guys to turn it off, really, turn the brain off and relax, try to diffuse a little bit, but make sure we turn it back on coming into the workout today, knowing that we've got to be ready to play."
• The Dodgers have hired Isao O'Jimi as their head scout, Japan. O'Jimi worked for the Mets from 1997-2011, first as a scout and then as director of Pacific Rim scouting, starting in December 2003. He was involved with the signings of several players during that time, including Kazuo Matsui and Tsuyoshi Shinjo.