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Struggling Matt Kemp doesn't start for Dodgers

DODGERS FYI

Center fielder is batting .185 and has struck out 17 times in 54 at-bats. Don Mattingly says 'I can see the frustration.'

April 17, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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Matt Kemp had heard enough from the reporters surrounding his locker.

"You all keep asking the same questions over and over," he said.

The questions about why he was not hitting well, admittedly, were repetitive. The question about how he felt about not being in the starting lineup for a night were not.

BOX SCORE: San Diego 7, Dodgers 2

"I don't ever want to sit out. But I don't make the lineup out. Donnie B did," Kemp said, an apparent reference to Manager Don Mattingly's nickname of "Donnie Baseball."

"I respect him for it."

Mattingly kept Kemp on the bench until using him as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. Kemp struck out and hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth. He is batting .182 overall and .050 with runners in scoring position, with 18 strikeouts in 55 at-bats.

Kemp took early batting practice for the second time in three days. Mattingly and Kemp each said the center fielder has no injury issues, with his surgically repaired shoulder or otherwise.

"There's nothing wrong with me," Kemp said. "Everything is fine. It's just hitting, man. I just need to hit. That's it."

Mattingly said Kemp would return to the starting lineup Friday. The Dodgers are off Thursday.

Mattingly said he decided to rest Kemp based on "body language" that the manager interpreted as a loss of confidence. Kemp was hitless in three at-bats Tuesday, striking out twice, and made two inaccurate throws from center field.

"I can see the frustration," Mattingly said.

DH? Not Puig

The Dodgers do not plan to call up Yasiel Puig this weekend when they visit Baltimore for an interleague series that will require them to use a designated hitter.

Puig, the Cuban outfielder who wowed the Dodgers and their fans during spring training, is batting .341 at double-A Chattanooga.

The Dodgers do not want to risk burning one of his option years for three games or to interrupt his progress in the minor leagues, in his first full pro season.

The Dodgers recalled catcher Tim Federowicz, in part to have an additional position player available for the interleague series.

Mattingly said he probably would rotate the DH spot among several players, including catcher A.J. Ellis.

Also, with that need to use an extra position player in the lineup, utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. dropped his appeal and served his one-game suspension Wednesday.

The Dodgers also put pitcher Chris Capuano on the disabled list, even before an MRI exam Thursday to assess the condition of his strained left calf.

Capuano said he expected to have an injection of platelet-rich plasma to speed healing, no matter what the MRI test showed.

Mattingly said they would replace Capuano in the starting rotation by activating Ted Lilly from the disabled list next week.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin


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