Center fielder Matt Kemp watches the Dodgers play the Blue Jays during a… (Jon Blacker / Associated…)
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Kemp took batting practice before the other Dodgers at Busch Stadium on Wednesday but said he still isn't able to run.
The Dodgers slugger is on the disabled list after spraining his left ankle sliding into home plate in Toronto on July 21.
"I'm not really ready to run yet," Kemp said. "My body is the one that's going to tell me when I'm ready."
Manager Don Mattingly agreed that "sprinting and cutting and stopping, that's going to be the problem" for the center fielder.
There was speculation that Kemp might not return until September, but Kemp said "it might be a week, two weeks, but it's not going to be September."
Kemp said his batting practice was "a start, it's better than where I was. Felt good to get back out there and hit a little bit. Felt like a real baseball player."
This is Kemp's third time on the disabled list this season and he said "it's been tough — play a little bit, don't play, out for a while, come back."
He's appeared in 62 games this season and was batting .263 with five home runs and 27 runs batted in.
Ramirez still improving
The Dodgers were increasingly hopeful Hanley Ramirez would avoid the disabled list after bruising his right shoulder.
"Hanley just keeps getting better and we're feeling a lot more confident that it's not going to be a DL" situation, Mattingly said.
Asked whether Ramirez would be available to play this weekend when the Dodgers play host to the Tampa Bay Rays, Mattingly said, "I'm hoping at least in a pinch-hit situation."
Ramirez hurt his shoulder Sunday in Chicago when he fell into the stands while catching a foul ball.
Dee Gordon back to basics
Shortstop Dee Gordon, making his first start since being recalled from the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes on Monday, said he has a new approach to hitting.
And on Wednesday night, Gordon singled in his first at-bat and later had a run-scoring single in the sixth inning.
Known for his speed, Gordon entered Wednesday's game with a career .251 batting average. But in his prior appearance with the Dodgers this year, in May, he batted only .175 in 19 games.
Gordon, 25, said he's been working with Franklin Stubbs, the Isotopes' batting instructor and former Dodgers player. Gordon said he asked Stubbs "to take me down to square one" regarding the fundamentals of hitting.
"He's patient enough with me to do it because — I'm not going to lie to you — at first I hated it," Gordon said. "But we stuck with it and it's starting to pay dividends."
Gordon also has been more patient at the plate. When he was called up, Gordon was leading the Isotopes in walks with 47. "I've never done that in my life before," he said.
Gordon also was leading the Pacific Coast League in stolen bases with 44.