9/18/2013 10:36 P.M. ET
Kemp flies Dodgers' bat boys into Phoenix
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Five bat boys and ball boys that work games at Dodger Stadium were flown in by outfielder Matt Kemp so they could be in the visitors clubhouse at Chase Field Wednesday night if the Dodgers clinched the National League West title.
The five: Gabriel Esparza-Torres, Francisco Herrera, Sergio Garcia, Javier Herrera and Eddie Gonshorowski.
Equipment manager Alex Torres said Kemp also picked up the hotel charges for the group. Torres said Brad Penny did the same thing for bat boys and ball boys in the 2004 playoffs.
Hanley back on bench after one-game return
PHOENIX -- Hanley Ramirez's return to the Dodgers' lineup lasted one game. On Wednesday night, he not only wasn't in the starting lineup, he wasn't even on the field for batting practice.
Manager Don Mattingly said it was "just part of the plan" for Ramirez to skip a game after returning from lower back nerve pain for the Dodgers' 9-3 win over the D-backs on Tuesday night, when Ramirez was on the bases four times and was removed in the eighth inning after scoring gingerly on Michael Young's triple.
Mattingly said Ramirez likely wouldn't play in Thursday's day game, another red flag on the shortstop's brittle condition.
"I don't think anybody feels Hanley's 100 percent," said Mattingly. "He's good today. He's a little sore body-wise and he's not playing. The key for us is to get him sharp."
Mattingly didn't downplay the shortstop's importance to a club he earlier left with thumb and hamstring issues.
"He's a pretty big chunk in the middle," said Mattingly. "He's a dangerous hitter who hits good pitching. He's played good shortstop for us. He is a force."
Nick Punto started at shortstop on Wednesday night.
Crawford returns; Ethier needs more time
PHOENIX -- Carl Crawford was back in the Dodgers' lineup on Wednesday night after missing most of the previous four games with lower back pain, while Andre Ethier remained out and reported only slight improvement in his sprained left ankle.
Manager Don Mattingly said he was hopeful Ethier would be able to work out with the club on the field this weekend in San Diego. Ethier, who continues to use a walking boot when he's not at the ballpark, said he still feels pain from the injury that has sidelined him since Saturday.
Mattingly said he will "be careful" with Crawford, sitting him against upcoming left-handed opposing pitchers and starting Scott Van Slyke in left field.
With Hanley Ramirez returned to the lineup Tuesday night, then out of the lineup Wednesday night, Mattingly was asked if he was worried about the shortstop being healthy for October.
"In a sense, I worry about all the guys," he said. "If Andre has a setback, Crawford, just not having guys at full strength. You can only do so much."
Mattingly said Chris Capuano had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his groin strain and might throw a bullpen in San Diego over the weekend.
Volquez on track for Friday reunion with Padres
PHOENIX -- Right-hander Edinson Volquez, who came out of his last start with a thumb blister, was able to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and remains the Dodgers' probable starter for Friday night's game against his former team, the Padres.
Volquez said the thumb responded well to treatment and a covering of artificial skin. He said the blister was caused by throwing his two-seam fastball, which he holds unconventionally with his right thumb bent underneath the ball instead of gripping it.
Volquez said he was able to throw all of his pitches in the bullpen session with no discomfort and the protective covering held up. He said the blister tore in his Saturday start. If Volquez had been unavailable Friday, the Dodgers might have called up Matt Magill to make the start.
Volquez will be making his fourth start for the Dodgers and first against the Padres since they released him. He said when he signed with the Dodgers he was hoping to get two starts to show what he could do. He credits some mechanical suggestions from pitching coach Rick Honeycutt for returning his delivery to the way it was during his best years with Cincinnati.
"They're giving me four starts," he said. "Maybe they like what they see."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.