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Dodgers hold out Yasiel Puig as precautionary measure

Outfielder is dealing with stiffness in right calf and Don Mattingly doesn't want to risk a more serious problem, so Puig sits out against Colorado.

September 03, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who left Monday's game with a leg injury, did not play Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who left Monday's game with a leg… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

DENVER — Outfielder Yasiel Puig was out of the Dodgers' lineup Tuesday in what club officials described as a precautionary measure.

"I think if this were a playoff game, Yasiel would try to play in it," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Even though Puig was removed in the sixth inning Monday because of stiffness in the top of his right calf, he didn't undergo an MRI exam, as the Dodgers considered the ailment to be minor. Puig has been bothered by that part of his leg for the last two weeks, dating to the Dodgers' visit to Miami.

Puig was replaced in right field by Skip Schumaker.

Mattingly ruled out using Puig on Tuesday as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner.

Mattingly didn't know when Puig could return to the lineup, but said he would be cautious with the 22-year-old rookie.

"I'm not going to run him out there until he's ready, until he's feeling like he's going to be able to play at full speed," Mattingly said. "He's not a guy who plays at half speed."

Matt Kemp goes to Arizona

Center fielder Matt Kemp is unlikely to be activated from the disabled list this week, Mattingly said.

Kemp traveled Tuesday to Arizona, where he will continue his rehabilitation. He played in four games with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, in which he was a combined 0 for 18.

Kemp could have remained with Rancho Cucamonga for the California League playoffs, but opted to go to Arizona, where he should be able to get 10 to 12 at-bats per day in simulated games. Matt Magill and Onelki Garcia of triple-A Albuquerque are among the pitchers he is expected to face.

"In that setting down there, you can get 10-12 at-bats in a hour," Mattingly said. "You can do your outfield work, you can do your running work. In a four-day period, you can get 40-something at-bats. That's a good way to get timing."

As for the sprained left ankle that landed Kemp on the disabled list July 22, it hasn't presented any problems.

"The ankle seems to be holding up fine," Mattingly said. "Health-wise we feel good."

Mattingly didn't have a timetable for Kemp's return.

"We're not going to activate him until he's ready," Mattingly said.

It's feast or famine

Left-hander J.P. Howell appeared in 53 of the Dodgers' first 129 games. Before pitching a perfect inning Tuesday, he hadn't pitched in any of the last nine days.

Howell has accepted that this is part of being a middle reliever.

"That's the name of the game, brother," he said. "I know how it goes, man. It's either too much or not enough."

Because the team's starters are pitching deeper into games, Mattingly hadn't had to turn to Howell in the middle innings.

"The starters have been so great, we don't need that sixth-, seventh-inning guy," Howell said. "Whatever role I was in, they don't need that right now."

Of the last 24 games in which Howell had appeared before Tuesday, he didn't give up runs in 22 of them. Through Monday, he had an earned-run average of 1.47 since June 25. To maintain his sharpness, Howell has thrown before games.

Howell said he is itching to pitch.

"I'm frustrated, but I'm not frustrated at anybody," he said. "I just love playing. That's why I love being a reliever and hated being a starting pitcher. I love having to opportunity of possibly getting in every day."

Roster move

Right-hander Chris Withrow was recalled from triple A. Mattingly said Withrow would probably be the team's final September call-up.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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