Kemp improving, could be available tonight.

Matt Kemp‘s list of injuries seems to be growing by the day but, remarkably, the center fielder is a possibility to play off the bench tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kemp spoke briefly before the game, telling reporters that his knees were still his greatest source of pain. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seemed to contradict that by saying it was Kemp’s left shoulder, not his knees, that were the slowest to recover from this crash into the center-field wall Tuesday night in Colorado:

Regardless, Kemp rode a stationary bike and ran in the outfield prior to the game, and could make an appearance later on.

“I made the lineup out thinking he might be able to play,” Mattingly said. “I’m sure he can catch a ball. It depends on the situation we’re in.”

“I’m just going to take it day by day,” Kemp said. “I’m trying to get the swelling to go down a little bit.”

More on Chris Reed.

Double-A Chattanooga starter Chris Reed was pulled after two innings Tuesday because his strict innings limit is becoming even more strict as his first full professional season draws to a close.

The left-hander was the closer at Stanford University a year ago and is slowly being converted to a starter in the Dodgers’ system. In his only three appearances last season at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga,all starts,Reed pitched a total of 7 innings.

In Double-A, Reed has never gone beyond four innings. He’s pitched four innings twice, three innings six times, and less than three innings three times. Yesterday’s outing was predetermined to last two innings. That’s no guarantee that Reed isn’t being talked about as trade bait –a possibility addressed here last night and something the Dodgers have been known to do lately — only that he was not pulled because of a potential trade.

Reed was the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick, 16th overall, in 2011. He is 0-3 with a 4.41 ERA in 32 2/3 innings (spanning 11 appearances and 10 starts) at Chattanooga this season.

On a personal note, I’m off to scout wedding locations for a couple days. The Dodgers and I return home Thursday.

Recent history not in Josh Beckett’s favor today.

If recent history is any indication, Josh Beckett could be in trouble today when he makes his Dodgers debut in Colorado.

Five times this season, Beckett has pitched on six or more days rest. In those starts, he is 1-2 with a 10.13 earned-run average. He’ll hope to buck that trend on seven days’ rest today. Beckett was scheduled to face the Kansas City Royals on Saturday before he was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers.

The veteran right-hander pitched better on extra rest before this season (20-13 with a 3.19 ERA, well below his career ERA of 3.93), and Beckett offered some nuance to the numbers on Sunday morning.
Continue reading

Around the minors: Reed, Gordon, Puig.

Chris Reed was pulled from his start for Double-A Chattanooga after just two innings Sunday. Reed pitched well, facing the minimum six batters, so unless there was an injury it’s hard to explain on the surface why he was pulled. I couldn’t find any reports out of Jackson (the Jackson Generals beat the Lookouts, 5-4) so I put in an email to the Lookouts to get the skinny.

Without knowing anything else, it’s tempting to believe that Reed is the next Dodgers prospect headed out in a blockbuster trade. A first-round draft pick (16th overall) out of Stanford last year, Reed was the Dodgers’ representative in the Futures Game this year.

But even if Reed was pulled because he’s involved in trade talks, that doesn’t mean he’s been traded. That was the case when Garrett Gould was scratched from a start in June. He ended up not going anywhere.
Continue reading

Don Mattingly’s toughest decision down the stretch.

Conventional baseball wisdom holds that pitching takes on greater importance in the playoffs than the regular season, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has lived it.

When he was the New York Yankees’ batting coach from 2004-07, he recalled, “(Robinson) Cano was hitting ninth. It was dangerous. But those clubs didn’t win.”

Mattingly believes the reason was simple.

“We didn’t pitch enough,” he said. “Playoffs are a whole different animal. Short series are always tough, even a seven-game.”

Assuming the Dodgers qualify, who will begin the playoffs in the starting rotation? Mattingly ducked the question for a second straight day Sunday and he can for the moment, with only five healthy starters on the active roster. He won’t be able to if/when Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Joe Blanton, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are all healthy.

This could be the manager’s biggest decision all season, if not in his brief career.
Continue reading

Ted Lilly’s next rehab start is in jeopardy; Billingsley’s outlook hazy.

Ted Lilly and Matt Guerrier were scheduled to continue their rehab assignments by pitching tomorrow and Wednesday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Lilly’s outing is in jeopardy, however, after manager Don Mattingly said the left-handed pitcher “didn’t look real good” after a workout Sunday morning.

“I’m thinking Teddy’s not going to make his start,” Mattingly said. “He felt something … I think in his back or something.”

Lilly’s rehabilitation has been up and down. Initially bothered by elbow stiffness, he didn’t face live hitters in a game between May 23 and a July 29 rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. After a brief setback, Lilly tossed one inning for the Quakes on Aug. 14 and two more innings two days later.

He hasn’t faced live hitting since, so if Lilly is able to return to the Dodgers before the end of the season, it will be out of the bullpen.
Continue reading

Shane Victorino talks about his future (and Carl Crawford’s).

Shane Victorino was back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game due to stiffness in his lower back.

He missed a lot while he was out.

Outfielder Carl Crawford, the least important (for this year, at least) of the four players the Dodgers acquired Saturday from Boston is signed through 2017. Crawford had Tommy John surgery Thursday and is out until March of next season at the earliest, so Victorino’s job in left field is safe for now.

A free agent at the end of the season, Victorino repeatedly expressed a desire to re-sign in Los Angeles after arriving July 31 in a trade from Philadelphia. Now, Crawford’s presence poses an obvious problem long-term: the Dodgers have three outfielders (Crawford, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp) under contract until at least 2017.

Continue reading

Diamondbacks trade Joe Saunders for Matt Lindstrom.

If you couldn’t see the Dodgers’ divisional rivals quaking in their boots after Saturday’s blockbuster trade, their fear became tangible Sunday, when the Arizona Diamondbacks traded starting pitcher Joe Saunders to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Matt Lindstrom.

OK, that’s not at all how it happened. Ken Rosenthal of reported that Joe Saunders was placed on waivers last Tuesday and the Orioles had the most interest. It’s unclear if Saunders was claimed by the Orioles, or if he passed through waivers unclaimed and the deal was consummated after that point. Either way, some incarnation of this trade was in the works before the Dodgers got Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.

Continue reading

Scully may add Yankee Stadium trip.

The Dodgers are playing two games at Yankee Stadium in 2013 and Vin Scully would like to be there — on one condition.

“If Sandy promises to go with me, I really would like to see Yankee Stadium, and the Dodgers and the Yankees,” he said, referring to his wife of 39 years. “That really gets my imagination stirring. First of all, I’ve never seen the new Yankee Stadium, but just to go back and play the Yankees.”

That could be the most significant addition to the schedule for Scully’s 2013 season — his record 64th with the Dodgers organization.

In an 18-minute pregame chat with media Sunday, Scully touched on a variety of topics.
Continue reading