Dodgers’ Jerry Hairston Jr. returns to the field without incident.

Jerry Hairston Jr.

Veteran utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. knows his place on the Dodgers’ roster. Saturday, a reporter asked him to compare his quick return to the field to teammates Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, who are still waiting to get clearance to play after having surgery last year.

“You’ve got more to lose with Matty and Carl than me,” Hairston deadpanned.

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Dodgers’ lineup tomorrow to feature Ethier, Schumaker, Hairston Jr.

Andre Ethier Don MattinglyDon Mattingly hasn’t filled out his lineup card yet for tomorrow’s Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox. But the Dodgers manager revealed Friday that he’s planning to start Andre Ethier in right field, Skip Schumaker in center field and Jerry Hairston Jr. in left.

Clayton Kershaw is expected to start and pitch roughly two innings, which would give the Dodgers the minimum four regulars that teams must use in exhibition games. “Regulars” has taken on some loose definitions in the past, but at least none of these four players will start the season in Triple-A.

“We’re going to use our guys,” Mattingly said. “We have to get them ready. Our number one objective is to get guys ready. During that, there are rules … within that, as far as pitchers and how we’re doing it, you’re trying to get your team ready knowing that you’ll have guys that are out there.”

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Dodgers utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. on his new position(s).

Jerry Hairston Jr. said he’d never heard of the phrase “four corners guy,” the definition Don Mattingly used to describe his position in 2013. Jerry Hairston Jr.

I repeated the definition to Hairston: first base, third base, left field, right field.

“Whatever he wants me to do,” Hairston said. “Whatever the equation is for winning I’ll do it.”

Hairston said he feels no effects from the hip surgery that ended his 2012 season in August.

Dodgers spring training preview: Outfielders.

Matt Kemp

There’s immense potential among this group, but questionable depth beyond the three starters – and an immediate need for depth. Remember when Shane Victorino and Torii Hunter were being mentioned as potential fourth outfielders? It’s because the need existed: Carl Crawford had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist in 2012, Matt Kemp had surgery to repair his left shoulder last October, and Andre Ethier can’t hit left-handed pitching. More on that in a bit.

In lieu of any big-name acquisitions, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Skip Schumaker — utility infielders who make occasional cameos in the outfield – might begin the season as the fourth and fifth outfielders. Crawford might well begin the season on the disabled list. With so many question marks, there will be plenty of focus on this group in the spring, beginning with the heart and soul of the Dodger lineup.

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Daily Distractions: Don Sutton bobblehead; updates on Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez.

Don SuttonDon Sutton will be the fourth and final bobblehead given away during the 2013 season, the Dodgers announced today.

The mini-Suttons will be nodding yes on June 6. The 7 p.m. game that night against the Atlanta Braves is a three-star game under the Dodgers’ new pricing plan.

The other bobblehead giveaways this season include Hanley Ramirez on April 30 (vs. COL), Matt Kemp on May 14 (vs. WAS), Jaime Jarrín on May 25 (vs. STL), Sandy Koufax on June 27 (vs. PHI), Adrian Gonzalez on July 11 (vs. COL), Vin Scully on July 25 (vs. CIN), Hideo Nomo on Aug. 10 (vs. TB), a “flag saving” Rick Monday on Aug. 27 (vs. CHI) and Magic Johnson on Sept. 12 (vs. SF).

It’s the first-ever bobblehead for Sutton at Dodger Stadium, who was given the royal treatment in 2007 in Milwaukee. Sutton was a Brewer for two-and-a-half seasons and a Dodger for 16 – from 1966 to 1980 and again in 1988. He still owns several franchise pitching records, including wins (233), starts (533), games (550), strikeouts (2,696), innings pitched (3,814.0) and shutouts (52).

Which defunct San Francisco ballpark, and which former National League MVP’s reputation, are getting blown up? Read on …

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Poll: Which Dodger will have the biggest bounceback in 2013?

One of my favorite stats from 2012 was this: Eight major-league teams used 50 or more players last season. Most fell into the category of underachievers, or at least underdogs: Boston (56), Toronto (54), Chicago Cubs (53), San Diego (53), Baltimore (52), Houston (50), Oakland (50) …

… And then there were the Dodgers, clocking in at an even 50 players. It was a combination of trades and injuries that brought the Dodgers to 50, all of which factored into their falling short of the playoffs, and left several players hungry for a big bounceback in 2013.

Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Ted Lilly are coming back from surgery. Chad Billingsley is coming back from an injury, at least the team hopes. Juan Uribe is Juan Uribe.

Who will rebound the most?

No extra playing time for Bobby Abreu, but no retirement, either.

Bobby Abreu‘s first career pinch-hit home run provided the final two runs of the Dodgers’ 8-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. After the game, manager Don Mattingly was asked if he’d do more to get Abreu into the lineup.

With Shane Victorino, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier all healthy? No.

But there’s something to be said for the fourth act of Abreu’s season. Let’s call Act 1 “Anaheim,” Act 2 “Starter for the Dodgers,” Act 3 “Albuquerque” and Act 4 “Pinch hitter.” All 19 of Abreu’s plate appearances in September have come as a pinch-hitter. Add in his last four at-bats in July before the Dodgers designated him for assignment, and Abreu has made 23 straight plate appearances as a pinch hitter.

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Billingsley to DL as Dodgers maneuver roster to add new players.

Chad Billingsley‘s inflamed right elbow has landed the right-hander on the disabled list for the second time in the past two months.

If he misses the minimum 15 days, Billingsley will miss two starts and face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 11. Billingsley had won six straight decisions before re-aggravating the injury Friday night against the Miami Marlins. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings before coming out of the game.

It’s not how the Dodgers drew it up, but the move helps make room for newcomer Josh Beckett on the active roster. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Beckett, who was scheduled to start today for the Red Sox, will make his Dodger debut Monday in Colorado.

The Dodgers also optioned Alex Castellanos to Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday, thereby clearing room for new first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and infielder Nick Punto on the active roster. James Loney was the only player on the active roster who was traded to Boston.

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Injury updates on Silverio, Hairston.

A pair of injury updates that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:

1. An MRI on Jerry Hairston Jr.’s left hamstring revealed a strain, manager Don Mattingly said, which was expected. The Dodgers don’t play tomorrow, so no decision will be made as to whether or not Hairston will go on the disabled list. Hairston hasn’t played since Sunday.

2. Outfield prospect Alfredo Silverio underwent UCL Reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) Wednesday morning, a team spokesperson said in an e-mail. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery at Kerlan Jobe in Los Angeles. Silverio will return to the Dodgers’ rehab facility at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. and start his rehab tomorrow. According to the team spokesperson, Silverio isn’t experiencing any symptoms from the concussion he suffered in a car accident in January.

More Magic: Jerry Hairston Jr.

The historical significance of Magic Johnson’s latest feat was lost on a few Dodgers, but not Jerry Hairston Jr.

To Hairston, whose grandfather Sam became the first black player to play for the Chicago White Sox in 1951, it’s special to play for the league’s first black (part-)owner in Johnson.

“I think Jackie Robinson would be very proud today,” Hairston said.

A self-described “history buff” –as well as a third-generation major-leaguer — Hairston sees the civil rights movement through a unique lens.

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