5/16/2014 9:10 P.M. ET
Puig's team-leading walk total a sign of growth
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Coming into Friday night's game against the D-backs, Yasiel Puig led the Dodgers in walks with 19. No joke.
"Never thought we'd see that," said manager Don Mattingly.
He also led the Dodgers in RBIs (31), batting average (.324), total bases (78) and slugging percentage (.561).
"He's forcing team to throw him strikes," Mattingly said. "He understands that walks are important."
This is why Mattingly the other night said that Puig is "growing up right before our eyes."
"He's maturing in a lot of areas," said Mattingly. "Even though there's a bit of hiccups on the bases and defense, we're seeing a guy get better and better. He's not chasing. It's a big step."
Mattingly repeated that he feels Puig's competition with Adrian Gonzalez for most times reaching base each series has helped change Puig's hitting approach and made him more accepting of the walk in a team concept.
League stepping up as Wilson struggles
PHOENIX -- The more Brandon League gets outs, and Brian Wilson doesn't, the more Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sounds like a role switch could be coming in the bullpen.
League's ERA is 1.59. Wilson's is 10.22. Last year, League's ERA was 5.30 and Wilson's was 0.66.
Wilson came into this season as the eighth-inning setup man. League, who came into last season as the closer, came into this season without a defined role.
Mattingly concedes he's "concerned with Wilson's success," convinced, he said, that the right-hander's twice-repaired elbow is sound.
"But compared to last year, he's been a lot more stressful," Mattingly said of Wilson's outings. "Last year, it was clean, clean, clean. This year, it hasn't been the same. Yet. I really believe he'll get there. At this point, he's not."
So, does that mean League has earned a promotion to the back end of the game?
"Slowly, but surely, it's changing," Mattingly said of League's role. "The more you send a guy out there and the more outs he gets, you gain confidence in him."
Chris Withrow, Chris Perez and J.P. Howell also have been getting some action setting up closer Kenley Jansen.
Rehabbing Ryu on the verge of rejoining Dodgers
PHOENIX -- Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said he came out of a simulated game on Friday in good shape, but manager Don Mattingly wasn't ready to confirm that the left-hander would return to the starting rotation next week in New York.
Ryu, on the disabled list with left shoulder blade inflammation, threw four innings at the club's Camelback Ranch Spring Training complex, then an additional 15 pitches for a total of 75.
Mattingly said Ryu was "really good" facing Dodgers Minor League hitters, but that wasn't a surprise because Ryu impressed Mattingly on Tuesday with a 45-pitch bullpen session. A Minor League rehab assignment has never been considered necessary for Ryu.
Ryu's return will create a pitching surplus for the Dodgers if nobody is injured between now and then. Paul Maholm is lined up to start Wednesday night in New York, and it would figure that Ryu replaces him in the rotation.
Mattingly hinted that Maholm would move to the bullpen as a long reliever. Only Jamey Wright and Brandon League have been used in that role. That could free up League to be used in the later innings instead of Brian Wilson, who has struggled all season. But unless the Dodgers go with a 13th pitcher and a short bench, somebody will be forced out by Ryu's return.
Dodgers Foundation to host 5K and Kids Fun Run
PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will hold its first 5K Run and Kids Fun Run on Sept. 21 at Dodger Stadium.
The race course includes views of Dodger Stadium, downtown Los Angeles, a cool-down run around the Dodger Stadium warning track and appearances by Dodger Alumni League members. Awards will be given to top participants in male and female categories. The Kids Fun Run will take place at 10 a.m. PT on the Dodger Stadium warning track.
Registration is now open online at www.dodgers.com/5K. Fee for the 5K Run is $40 and $25 for the Kids Fun Run now through June 30. Registration is open through race weekend or until the event sells out. The LADF 5K Run is for all ages and the Kids Fun Run is for 12 years and under. Parking is free and spectators can watch the race along the course and from the left and right-field pavilion seats. Each LADF 5K Run and Kids Fun Run participate will receive a Dodger T-shirt and medal.
The first 1,000 5K registrants will receive a Dodgers ticket voucher redeemable for one Reserve level ticket for one game this season (June 2, June 16, June 18, June 30, July 2, Aug. 16, Aug. 19 or Aug. 21). All proceeds from the LADF 5K Run and Kids Fun Run benefit LADF's cornerstone programs and charitable giving to underserved youth in the areas of sports, education and health.
Fans are encouraged to set personal fundraising goals to attain exciting incentives including an autographed photo, autographed baseball, autographed jersey or the top incentive which is the opportunity to throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to a Dodgers game in 2015.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.