9/10/2013 9:15 P.M. ET
Uribe's work with McGwire is paying off
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Juan Uribe worked hard over the winter in the Dominican Republic to win back his starting job with the Dodgers at third base this season, but he's also benefited from his work with hitting coaches Mark McGwire and John Valentin.
Uribe hit .199 in his first two seasons with the Dodgers. But he's raised his average to .279 this year, his first with McGwire as the club's hitting coach. Uribe had three home runs Monday against the D-backs to reach 10 for the first time since 2010.
"He has had a few rough years here, and he has become a force," McGwire said. "Everyone is so happy for him."
Uribe is the first Dodgers third baseman with three homers in a game since 1916, according to Baseball-Reference.com. While McGwire has helped him regain his power, Uribe has also shown more patience at the plate, with 27 walks, three shy of his total from his first two seasons in Los Angeles.
Uribe shared time at third with Luis Cruz at the beginning of the season, but he won the job after Cruz struggled. Uribe's work with McGwire is paying off, and he figures to be an important piece in the Dodgers' postseason plans.
"After starting off the season with so much uncertainty, things finally seem to be settling down," McGwire said. "He is always ready to play. He really gets upset when he isn't in the lineup and for a guy like that has been around, he wants to be in there for every game and at-bat. That is a great attitude to have."
Mattingly hopeful Kemp will return for 10-12 games
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp hasn't played with the Dodgers since July, but manager Don Mattingly is optimistic the injured center fielder will be back in the Majors before the end of the regular season.
"I'm starting to feel that way, yeah," Mattingly said Tuesday afternoon. "I think everybody is pretty positive that he's on a pretty good track."
Kemp's rehab from a sprained left ankle was slowed last week by tightness in his right hamstring, but Mattingly said he's been encouraged by the medical reports he's received. Kemp hasn't tested his hamstring by running the bases, but he's getting at-bats in simulated games at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
But for Kemp to be included in the Dodgers' plans for the postseason, he would have to play several games in the big leagues this month.
"It would be nice to be able to see 10-12 games," Mattingly said. "I believe there's a possibility of that."
Kemp had 10 at-bats in a simulated game Tuesday, Mattingly said.
"It sounded like he swung the bat really well," the manager said. "I think he was like 6-for-10 with four homers or something like that, something crazy. He's obviously feeling better."
In other injury news, Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to make his scheduled start Wednesday after being scratched Friday because of back stiffness. Ryu threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Sunday in Cincinnati.
"He's been good the last few days," Mattingly said. "Ever since the bullpen, he's been fine. No complaints."
Chris Capuano is scheduled to test his strained left groin Wednesday. The left-hander won't throw, but he'll get on a mound and go through his delivery to test the groin. If that goes well, Mattingly said Capuano would throw a bullpen session Thursday and would then be slotted into the rotation or moved to a relief role.
Gordon may get looks at second, outfield
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers could give shortstop Dee Gordon a look at second base or in the outfield over the final three weeks of the regular season.
"There's a possibility as the season goes on that we would see him somewhere other than short," manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday. "I think we could see him play somewhere different."
Gordon took ground balls at second and shagged fly balls in center field during early batting practice before Tuesday night's game against the D-backs.
Dodgers management has had internal discussion about using Gordon at other positions but has resisted, aside from playing Gordon at second for 20 games with Triple-A Albuquerque this season.
"It went pretty well, better than they actually thought it would go," Mattingly said. "That double-play ball is a big change from short to second, because that guy is coming at you and you don't know where he's at. It sounds like he likes it. Just expanding that a little bit."
Gordon has only played shortstop in the Majors, though Hanley Ramirez has filled that position since the Dodgers traded for him last July.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.