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DODGERS FYI

Torre pleased by Kemp's play

May 22, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Asked about the play of Matt Kemp in center field in the absence of Andruw Jones, Manager Joe Torre started his response by saying, "Well, he's not Andruw Jones."

But Torre said he was encouraged by the way Kemp is learning the position.

Kemp, who started his 11th game at center Wednesday, robbed Ken Griffey Jr. of extra bases the previous night in the Dodgers' 4-1 victory when he crashed into the wall to make a catch. Kemp had two outfield assists in the series opener on Monday night, throwing out Bronson Arroyo from deep center as he tried to tag up from second to third and nailed Griffey trying to stretch a single.

"Matty's getting his feel," Torre said. "He's got great instincts. With his quickness, he makes up for a first step that may be wrong. I think he'll only get better at it reading the ball off the bat."

Kemp pointed out that he played the position in the minor leagues.

"That was my main position when I first got here," Kemp said.

Kemp said he has picked up a few tips from Jones.

"He's one of the best center fielders to ever play the game," Kemp said. "We talk all the time."

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Jones said that based on the way his knee felt after two days of rest, he felt he could play on Wednesday.

"So far so good," Jones said.

Whether he will have to undergo surgery will be determined by how his knee responds over the next couple of days to physical activity, which he started Wednesday.

Jones, who has torn cartilage and a cyst in his right knee, rode a stationary bicycle for about 10 minutes and hit off a tee.

He rested for about 40 minutes and when he didn't experience any swelling in his knee, went into the batting cage and hit about 60 balls.

The plan is for Jones to run the bases and catch fly balls in center field today, which is an off day for the Dodgers. If the swelling that he had Sunday evening doesn't return, he said he should be ready to play in the Dodgers' series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals -- "if they want me to," the .167 hitter said with a smile.

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Nomar Garciaparra will undergo a second examination today to determine whether compartment syndrome is the reason he has had repeated problems with his calf. Garciaparra is on the disabled list with a strained left calf, a problem that also sidelined him last season.

Compartment syndrome is a condition in which the pressure within a muscle group, which is covered by a membrane called a fascia and is called a compartment, gets too high and reduces circulation, resulting in damaged muscles.

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As expected, Rafael Furcal remained on the disabled list Wednesday, the first day he was eligible to be activated. Furcal, who has a lower back strain, said there was no chance he would play in a minor league rehab game today, a possibility that was mentioned by Torre. He could be activated on Friday.

Furcal hasn't played in more than two weeks, but said he doesn't think he has to go to the minors to regain his timing and would prefer to be put in the Dodgers lineup right away when he's healthy enough to play.

"The game is the same everywhere," he said. "If you're healthy, you can play."

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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