Joc Pederson’s strong play could upset the apple cart.

Yasiel  Puig

Yasiel Puig went 0 for 3 with a walk and scored a run Monday night against Washington. (Getty Images)

Yas or Joc?

Puig or Pederson?

The debate existed only in theory two days ago, when Yasiel Puig was batting second and playing center field in San Diego, and Joc Pederson was still biding his time in Triple-A.

Now Pederson is here at Dodger Stadium, starting in center field while Yasiel Puig sits for the second time in his last five games.

Puig has two hits in his last 30 at-bats coming into Tuesday night’s game, with a right-hander (Doug Fister) on the mound for the Washington Nationals. Pederson — who struck out to end Monday’s game in his first major-league at-bat — is the reigning Pacific Coast League rookie of the year and MVP.

Mattingly downplayed the long-term debate by saying he would “pull (Puig) off and help him a bit, then give him a chance to get back in the water.” He said that Puig wouldn’t have to prove that he deserves the everyday center fielder’s job, but neither did he say when Puig’s next chance would come.

“I haven’t really thought about tomorrow,” Mattingly said. “Just putting it up today and see where we’re at.”

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Matt Kemp named National League Player of the Week.

Matt Kemp was named National League Player of the Week on Monday for the week of July 28-August 3.

In six games, Kemp was tied for the Major League lead with five home runs and nine RBI while leading the NL with a 1.091 slugging percentage and ranking second with 24 total bases. He hit .409 (9-for-22), the N.L.’s fourth-highest mark last week, and compiled a .458 on-base percentage, which was good for sixth. Kemp added a stolen base and six runs scored.

This is Kemp’s fifth career Player of the Week honor, having won previously for the weeks ending May 4, 2008; September 25, 2011; April 8, 2012; and April 15, 2012.

In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Matt Kemp will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time.

Ned Colletti on impending trade deadline: “We may not do anything.”

Ned Colletti

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said there is a “small market” for trades to be made in the coming days. (Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO >> Despite rumors swirling around outfielder Matt Kemp, and the recent struggles of several veteran pitchers, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Saturday that “we may not do anything” between now and the non-waiver trade deadline of 1 p.m. Thursday.

“We have a club that’s solid, still has a lot of upside. Have we won four games in a row yet?”

No, remarkably.

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Don Mattingly would consider moving Yasiel Puig to center field, keeping Matt Kemp in right.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig has played 10 games in center field, all last season. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

PITTSBURGH >> It was just a thought in the middle of a July game, but it’s one that could have lasting consequences for the Dodgers.

Manager Don Mattingly said that Matt Kemp looked so comfortable playing right field Monday that he entertained the thought of keeping Kemp there and moving Puig to center field.

“It made me think about it,” Mattingly said. “Just how comfortable Matt looked, it changes the combination of guys. So again, you’re always trying to put the best club out there, give yourself the best chance to win. It just popped into my head during the game last night.”
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Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez out; Paco Rodriguez optioned as Dodgers activate Josh Beckett.

Hanley  Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez did not taking batting practice Monday, one day after he was hit in the left hand and left shoulder by pitches in St. Louis. (Associated Press photo)

PITTSBURGH >> Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are not in the Dodgers’ lineup for the second consecutive day.

The Dodgers will use the same lineup against Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Vance Worley that led to a 5-2 win Monday, with Matt Kemp starting in right field, Andre Ethier in center field and Carl Crawford in left. Before Monday, Kemp hadn’t started a game in right field since October 2009.

Puig was hit in the left hand by a Joe Kelly pitch on Saturday in St. Louis. Ramirez was hit in the left hand by a Trevor Rosenthal pitch Sunday. X-rays on both players revealed no broken bones, but they were still too hurt to take batting practice Monday. Puig was said to be closer to returning than Ramirez.

Josh Beckett was activated from the 15-day disabled list and will start the game for the Dodgers. Left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

With Yasiel Puig injured, Matt Kemp makes his first start in right field since 2009.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp will make his first start in right field today since October 2009. (Associated Press photo)

PITTSBURGH >> Matt Kemp will make his 132nd career start in right field today. That’s quite a few starts, longer than many careers. By some advanced measures (namely, BIS Defensive Runs Saved Above Average), right field is Kemp’s best defensive position.

But his last start there was October 3, 2009. Kemp’s preparation for his latest position shift consists of shagging fly balls prior to today’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Without explicitly saying he had lowered expectations for Kemp in the field, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly lowered the expectations for Kemp in the field Monday.

“We really do make a big deal out of this and you know what? We don’t ask him to be perfect. We ask him to do his best,” Mattingly said. “If it’s not perfect, it’s not necessarily his fault.”
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Matt Kemp stands behind agent Dave Stewart’s comments, would accept trade for more playing time.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp has played three innings in center field since May 22. (Associated Press photo)


ST. LOUIS>>Matt Kemp insists he’s a center fielder. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has used Kemp in left field, not center, for all but three innings since May 22.

Kemp insists he’s an everyday player. With the Dodgers, he’s part of a five-man outfield rotation.

This apparent conflict of opinions hasn’t prompted Kemp to ask the Dodgers for a trade — a popular opinion with the trade deadline approaching and a headline like this one appearing on FoxSports.com.

But Kemp was happy to clarify the comments made by his agent, Dave Stewart, that Kemp would prefer to be playing center field rather than receiving inconsistent playing time in left or right.

“I want to be in a situation where I play every day,” he said Friday. “If it’s with the Dodgers, if it’s with someone else, that’s not my decision.

“I don’t have a no-trade clause. I don’t have any of that. I’m a Dodger. I’m going to play and help them any way I can. I’m blessed that I can wear a jersey and play the game I love to play.”
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After early progress, Carl Crawford’s rehab ‘stuck’ in Arizona.

When Carl Crawford sprained his ankle May 27, the initial estimate was that he would be back in the Dodgers’ lineup by now.

Instead, he’s still rehabbing in Arizona.

“It seems like Carl’s kind of hit that plateau where he’s kind of gotten stuck,” manager Don Mattingly said Sunday. “He didn’t play yesterday. We’re not progressing. Right now, we have no plans for him playing rehab games or anything else.”
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With Carl Crawford improving, Don Mattingly is mum on Matt Kemp’s future.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp has started the Dodgers’ last eight games in left field. (Associated Press)

Carl Crawford took a few steps closer to rejoining the Dodgers. They were quick steps, too, which is encouraging.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Crawford is about 80-85 percent healthy in his recovery from a sprained left ankle that landed him on the disabled list May 28. Mattingly couldn’t say for certain, but “we’re hoping he’ll be ready when he’s due to come off. I think it’s the last game of the Cincinnati series (June 12).”

Once that happens, what will happen to Matt Kemp?

Kemp, who is struggling with a career-low .243 batting average and has just four hits in his past 34 at-bats, has been spelling Crawford in left. It figures once Crawford is ready to play, Kemp will be the odd man out.

Mattingly wouldn’t go there. Actually, he wouldn’t go anywhere with it.

“We don’t have to talk about that now,” he said. “I don’t want to right now.”

What about a platoon situation with Crawford and Kemp?

“I’m not thinking about any of that right now,” said Mattingly, who said his current thinking was centered more on how his team can put together some victories.

“I’m clearly focused on that,” he said.