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2/21/2014 4:52 P.M. ET

Window closing for Maholm

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Paul Maholm's availability for the Opening Day roster could ride on his anticipated bullpen session on Saturday.

Maholm, who has been slowed by elbow tenderness, is the only Dodgers starting pitcher who has yet to throw live batting practice. Clayton Kershaw threw to hitters Friday for the second time this spring.

Because of the truncated exhibition schedule this year, injured players have less time to recover from minor Spring Training injuries and still be on the March 16 flight to Australia for Los Angeles' Opening Series against Arizona.

Maholm was signed as a fifth-starter option in the event Josh Beckett, coming off surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, is not ready. Beckett actually is ahead of Maholm, having faced hitters, although it's possible neither will be needed for the two games in Australia.

Brandon League seems to be clear from his mild lat strain, as he threw a second bullpen session on Friday. And Zach Lee, who also had a lat strain, came out of his first bullpen session with no setback, according to manager Don Mattingly.

Kershaw to start Cactus League opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw pitched two innings of batting practice on Friday and will start the Dodgers' first Cactus League game on Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly said.

Zack Greinke will start the second game on Thursday. The Dodgers will play intrasquad games this Sunday and Monday.

Although the rotation appears obvious, the Dodgers are still considering skipping Kershaw in the Opening Series in Australia for workload reasons, then having him start in San Diego March 30 in Los Angeles' first game stateside. That would line the left-hander up to start the home opener April 4.

Kemp likely to miss Opening Series in Australia

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp won't make the club's trip to Australia for the Opening Series, manager Don Mattingly indicated on Friday.

Mattingly said he was "not hopeful" Kemp would be ready, no surprise since Kemp still hasn't run on his surgically repaired left ankle and the club breaks camp in a little more than three weeks.

Kemp will undergo an MRI exam next week, and if surgeon Robert Anderson gives the green light, Kemp will add running to a program that already includes hitting, throwing and fielding ground balls. Even so, time is running out for him to appear in the field in any Cactus League games.

Kemp is attempting to return from a career-threatening injury to the weight-bearing talus bone in his left ankle, a stress reaction and cartilage chip. The repair surgery included a microfracture procedure to produce additional cartilage-like substance for extra protection to the bone.

The tricky part of Kemp's comeback is that if he returns too soon, the bone can be damaged permanently, and there is no way to accurately predict when the bone is fully healed.

That is why his rehab during Spring Training has been overly conservative, and also why the club is not preoccupied with the prospect of having too many outfielders.

Kemp will open the season on the disabled list, his sixth visit there since May 2012. Prior to that, Kemp was an iron man, at one stretch playing in 399 consecutive games. He's also returning from his second shoulder operation in as many seasons.

Slowed Puig nears return to action

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig missed a second day of practice on Friday with a bruised right thigh, but manager Don Mattingly said he expected Puig back in action Saturday.

"We're going to be careful with Puig," said Mattingly. "He'll do his workout in the cage and inside today. I think he'll be back tomorrow."

Puig fouled a pitch off his thigh on Wednesday and was limping around the clubhouse afterward. He has not been on the field since.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.