8/31/2013 3:19 A.M. ET
Dodgers sign free agent Volquez
By Ken Gurnick and Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers announced the signing of free-agent pitcher Edinson Volquez on Friday to a contract for the rest of the season, providing an additional candidate for the club's plan to use a sixth starter in September.
The 30-year-old right-hander, released this week by San Diego, was 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts. His best season was with Cincinnati in 2008, when he went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and was a National League All-Star. He came to the Padres in the 2011 Mat Latos deal.
Volquez pitched one inning of relief on Friday night, entering in the eighth inning with the Dodgers ahead, 9-1. He allowed a leadoff double to Jedd Gyorko and then recorded three straight outs. His next outing could be a start.
"He's an accomplished guy, so we'll see," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "He will probably get some starts in."
The Dodgers had planned on using Stephen Fife as a sixth starter in September to provide an extra day of rest for their rotation, but Fife struggled in his most recent outings with Triple-A Albuquerque.
Volquez said he was looking forward to working with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, who has already helped reliever Carlos Marmol improve since coming over from the Cubs in July.
"From what I hear, he's an outstanding pitching coach and he knows what he's doing," Volquez said. "Hopefully we can get on the same page and fix me and make me better."
The Dodgers' pitching staff entered Friday's game with a 2.11 ERA in August, the lowest in the Major Leagues.
"I used to hate it when I was pitching against them," Volquez said of the Dodgers. "They've been good the whole year. I want to be part of this rotation."
Volquez originally signed out of the Dominican Republic with Texas. He struggled through the Minor Leagues before being dealt to the Reds as part of the 2007 Josh Hamilton trade. He had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2009 and was suspended 50 games in 2010 for use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In a written apology at the time, Volquez explained that his positive test was the result of medication prescribed when he and his wife were trying to start a family.
"I want to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident involving my genuine effort to treat a common medical issue," he wrote. "I was not trying in any way to gain an advantage in my baseball career."
Volquez was the Reds' Opening Day starter in 2011 and San Diego's Opening Day starter in '12 against the Dodgers.
Dodgers turn page on Puig drama
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly benched Yasiel Puig on Wednesday, but the rookie was back in the lineup on Friday and both Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti seemed ready to move past the whole ordeal.
"We've talked about it and it's over," Mattingly said before Friday's game against the Padres. "It's not something that continues on. I think he understands where we're coming from. I like Yasiel. I think he's a great player. He's a good kid. I think he's going to help us win. I want him in there."
Puig was benched in the fifth inning of a 4-0 win over the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. After that game, the rookie outfielder said he wasn't prepared and Mattingly referred to effort when explaining why he replaced Puig with Skip Schumaker.
Colletti did not comment on Wednesday, but he shared his opinion on Friday.
"He was fine the other day," Colletti said of Puig.
While Puig's ability has never come into question, his approach to the game has been the subject of much debate since the Dodgers called him up on June 3. Colletti said Friday the Cuban has "made a lot of progress."
"He's a young guy coming from a different country, a different culture," Colletti said. "His maturation process and his educational process will continue to take place. We've got a good support staff around him. We're there every day for him."
Colletti pointed out Puig is just 22 years old, with a mere 76 games in the Majors and 63 games in the Minor Leagues under his belt.
"We're talking about somebody who, as of a little over a year ago, wasn't in professional baseball in this country, let alone Major League Baseball, let alone in a market like L.A.," Colletti said. "It's a process. We're happy to do everything we can to help him."
Asked if Puig's inexperience cost the Dodgers in the postseason, Colletti said, "I'm not worried about that. I ain't looking forward to nothing but today."
Kemp mans center field in second rehab game
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp played seven innings in center field on Friday in his second Minor League rehab game with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, his biggest test yet for a sprained left ankle that has kept him on the disabled list for five weeks.
Kemp made a running catch in the field and started a relay to record an out at the plate. He went 0-for-3, striking out twice and grounding to third.
Kemp started his rehab assignment on Thursday, getting five at-bats with the Quakes in his first game since he injured his ankle July 21 in Washington. Kemp hit three balls hard, but finished 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
"It sounds like he felt good, physically, that's probably the most important thing," Mattingly said after Thursday's game. "He's getting his timing back a little bit. He looked OK."
Kemp likely will play a third rehab game with Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. If all goes well, the Dodgers could activate the outfielder as early as Sunday, when rosters expand.
"It's always tough to tell how much time somebody needs," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "I'm glad he's getting some at-bats before he faces live pitching at the big league level."
Dodgers preparing for September callups
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he would be surprised if he adds a player in a waiver trade before Saturday's deadline, though he expects the Dodgers to call up five to seven Minor Leaguers once rosters expand on Sunday.
"It's a small list of phone calls," Colletti said. "The deadline at this point is really no different than it was in July. There's still not a tremendous amount of sellers."
Any player who is in the organization by Saturday is eligible for the postseason. On Sunday, rosters expand and the Dodgers could carry up to 40 active players.
Colletti said he expects a group of September callups from the 40-man roster to arrive on Sunday, and "then maybe a couple more after."