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BASEBALL : DODGERS FYI : COLORADO 1, DODGERS 0

Trying to get bodies healthy for the playoffs

September 29, 2013|Kevin Baxter
  • Matt Kemp sits in the Dodgers' dugout during the first inning against Colorado on Saturday after being scratched with left ankle soreness before the game.
Matt Kemp sits in the Dodgers' dugout during the first inning against… (Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty…)

The Dodgers assured themselves of a playoff berth 10 days ago. They know they're going to open on the road, on Thursday, and they've even narrowed their possible opponent down to two teams: St. Louis or Atlanta.

Now all they have to do is make sure they have enough healthy players for the trip.

Moments before Saturday's game, a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies, the banged-up Dodgers scratched center fielder Matt Kemp from the lineup because of left ankle soreness.

"Before the game he was having trouble getting loose. I didn't want to push that," said Manager Don Mattingly, who is likely to hold Kemp out of the lineup Sunday.

As for what Kemp felt, he wasn't saying, declining to take questions before exiting the clubhouse through a group of reporters. But there's no doubt the Dodgers and Kemp are concerned since the sore ankle is the same one that kept Kemp sidelined for two months this season.

Only now Andre Ethier, the man who replaced Kemp in center field, has batted only once since Sept. 13 because of a left ankle sprain. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez hasn't started consecutive games in two weeks because of a sore back and when Yasiel Puig was limited to a pinch-hit appearance Saturday after fouling a ball off his left foot Friday, the Dodgers were left with a starting outfield of two rookies and a second baseman

Even ever-ready utility infielder Nick Punto was unavailable because of an ingrown toenail.

With the possible exception of Ethier, who is working out in Arizona, the Dodgers' walking wounded are expected to suit up and play when the postseason begins this week.

On Saturday, their stand-ins struggled against right-hander Juan Nicasio, who came in with a 5.32 earned-run average then held the Dodgers to three hits over 5 1/3 innings. Zack Greinke was almost as good, giving up one run on Nolan Arenado's two-out double in the fourth inning and lowering his ERA to 2.63 in a six-inning effort. It was the 12th straight start in which Greinke (15-4) gave up two runs or less but all it got him was his first loss since July 25.

Tip of the Cap

Left-hander Chris Capuano pitched a scoreless inning Friday, striking out two, in his first appearance since a groin strain forced him out of a start in Cincinnati three weeks ago.

Mattingly said Capuano is expected to work an inning in the regular-season finale Sunday in what could be a tryout for a spot on the playoff roster.

"If we weren't thinking about him we wouldn't have tried to push him to get him back," Mattingly said. "Another lefty is a value. It allows you to match up more."

Capuano has pitched in relief three times this season and his presence in the bullpen would give Mattingly an additional left-handed option to J.P. Howell and the struggling Paco Rodriguez, who pitched a perfect inning Saturday after giving up four runs and walking six in his previous 5 1/3 innings.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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