4/27/2014 9:30 P.M. ET
Puig's patience paying off with RBIs
By Scott Miller / Special to MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly talked this spring about Yasiel Puig's evolution, and that eventually the outfielder would be an RBI guy.
So far this season, he sure looks like an RBI guy.
With runners in scoring position, Puig is hitting .417 (10 for 24) with two homers, two doubles and three walks.
"He's been good," Mattingly said. "He's been a little more patient. I think we see him changing from the standpoint of being a little more patient out there and not quite as wild as far as his swings. We see a three-walk game not too long ago.
"To me, all good signs. Honestly, he looks like he's going in the right direction, which is something we obviously like and we feel he's capable of."
Disappointed Kershaw to make another rehab start
LOS ANGELES -- Another exhale was permitted around Dodger Stadium on Sunday when rehabbing ace Clayton Kershaw threw his post-start bullpen session and pronounced all systems go.
But it was Kershaw whose exhales were measured following the Dodgers' 6-1 loss to Colorado on Sunday when it became clear that he had lost his spirited fight to rejoin the Dodgers' rotation without another Minor League rehab assignment.
Not long after manager Don Mattingly said Kershaw definitely will make one more Minor League start before rejoining the Dodgers, the Cy Young winner made it clear he does not agree with it.
"Not really," said Kershaw, who lobbied since Friday's start for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga to make his next start a Major League one. "I did the best I could. But I'm not going to fight the team if everybody doesn't want me to do something."
Mattingly made his thinking clear while talking with reporters before the game.
"In my mind, it really hasn't changed," Mattingly said. "The biggest thing we've talked about is pitch count -- how do you get from 50-some pitches to 90?"
Pitching for Rancho Cucamonga, Kershaw threw 56 pitches Friday. On a five-day rotation, his next start would come Wednesday. The Dodgers are in Minnesota that day; currently, Dan Haren is scheduled to start.
Though the Dodgers purposely did not specify where Kershaw's next start will be, Double-A Chattanooga is at home this week, which means the team's ace could start there and then rejoin the Dodgers on the road in Miami next weekend.
"His next start, we want to get him to the 75-to-80-pitch range," Mattingly said, adding that from there, Kershaw would feel like he would be good for 90 or 95 pitches in his next Dodgers outing.
Kershaw does not think the Dodgers need to be holding the yellow caution flag.
"I feel normal," he said. "That's the hard part, going to pitch another [Minor League] game when I feel healthy."
Mattingly said earlier that Kershaw shared his "two cents" in the debate, but insisted that the Dodgers' final decision in the matter would be made "with some common sense for the whole season."
With Hanley ailing, infielder Triunfel recalled
LOS ANGELES -- With Hanley Ramirez's bruised right thumb leaving his immediate future a question mark, the Dodgers opted for safety Sunday, recalling infielder Carlos Triunfel from Triple-A Albuquerque to add depth to an already short-handed bench.
To make room, they optioned right-hander Jose Dominguez to the Isotopes.
The Dodgers were working with a 13-man pitching staff until Sunday's move, leaving them with just a four-man bench. When Ramirez left Saturday's game against Colorado in the top of the fourth inning after bruising his thumb while being jammed from a Juan Nicasio pitch, that reduced the bench to three.
Though the Dodgers do not expect to put Ramirez on the disabled list, he had a previously scheduled off-day Sunday and they were uncertain of his availability off the bench.
"We're kind of at that point where we're a little nervous about the throwing side of it, and if something were to happen, we'd be short," Mattingly said. "We're already short [on the bench] and that would put us short another guy, fielder-wise. And if we go another one short fielder-wise, it puts us in real danger."
Plus, the club is confident everyone in the bullpen is "back on track with rest," Mattingly said, which allows the Dodgers to go back to a 12-man staff.
Triunfel, 24, was claimed from Seattle on waivers April 2. He was hitting .291 with four doubles and four RBIs at Albuquerque this season. After debuting for the Mariners on Sept. 2, 2012, he has played 17 games in the Majors at shortstop, six at second base and one at third.
The Dodgers felt that Ramirez's thumb was a little better Sunday and that they might be able to use him as a pinch-hitter if necessary. Pregame, he was being fitted with different pads to protect his sore thumb at the plate.
Kemp still seeking consistency at plate
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp doubled and homered against the Rockies on Saturday night and, in one indication that perhaps his swing is returning to the productive, calibrated swing of old, he sent the homer over the right-field fence.
"That means it's a good swing," said Kemp, who now is hitting .219 with four homers and eight RBIs. "I've got to continue to consistently drive the ball to right field to be successful. It's moving in the right direction."
The outfielder has shown flashes of his old self since being activated from the disabled list on April 4 following major ankle surgery last fall, but consistency has been elusive.
"I'm going to be good," he said. "I'm going to get in my groove. I'm not worried about a lack of hitting one day.
"I'm not having as many good at-bats as I should be having, but I'll work out of it."
A man who once had 40 stolen bases during his monster 2011 season is starting to move a little better, too. He swiped third base in the second inning Saturday night, his third steal of the season.
"Shoot, I've got to get on base to steal bases," he said. "As soon as I get on base, you'll see me stealing."
Homer leader A-Gon insists he's not a power hitter
LOS ANGELES -- After belting his eighth homer of the season, which puts him in the NL lead, Adrian Gonzalez continues to insist that he is not a "power hitter."
Funny, because he sure looks like one right now. How does manager Don Mattingly view him these days?
"He's a line-drive hitter with power," the manager said. "He can not be a power hitter all year long. Just keep hitting them at this pace and we'll be happy."
• Catcher A.J. Ellis is encouraged with his running program, even though he still feels pain in his surgically repaired left knee. The pain is normal, he said, and now it is a matter of "understanding the threshold" of that pain and how much he can push his rehab.
"The baseball stuff feels great," said Ellis, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 6.
Scott Miller is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.