TIMES"> TIMES">

Elian Herrera not slowing down with Dodgers

Utilityman, called up a month ago after spending nearly a decade in the minors, was batting .305 before Tuesday's game and had nine multi-hit games.

OAKLAND — The improbable success of Elian Herrera shows no signs of ebbing, much to the Dodgers' delight.


It has been a month since the 27-year-old utilityman, who spent nearly a decade in the Dodgers' farm system, was called up to the big leagues and he has seemingly been everywhere in helping the Dodgers stay in first place.


Herrera was batting .305 entering Tuesday's play after three hits Sunday, his ninth multi-hit game of the season. He had a .407 on-base percentage and 14 runs batted in, including three game-winning RBIs.


The Dominican Republic native has played second base, third base, center field and left field. He started Tuesday's game in left field against the Oakland Athletics and batted second.


"It's awesome and I feel really happy," Herrera said. "I'm being blessed by God, doing what I like doing."


Herrera said he did not care where he plays, "I just want to be in the lineup. Every day when I come and I see my name" on the lineup card, "I say, 'OK, it's a new chance to help my team.' "


During his years in the minor leagues, Herrera said there were times "I wondered if I would make it or not. But I never gave up."


Herrera said he was determined that "if I didn't make it, it was not because I didn't work enough."


All-Star voting


Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp remained the leading National League vote getter for the All-Star game with 3.32 million votes, Major League Baseball said in its latest update.


But with Kemp on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, it remained a question whether Kemp would recover soon enough to play in the July 10 game in Kansas City.


"It's a tough call because if Matt's not able to play in games for us, it's hard to say he can play in the All-Star game," Manager Don Mattingly said.


"I know Matt wants to. If he was healthy, I'm all for him playing. The fans are voting for him, they want to see Matt Kemp. But if he's not healthy, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If he's healthy, I want him to play; I'm not trying to keep anybody out of it."


Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier was fifth in the voting among NL outfielders with 1.52 million votes.


Mark Ellis continues rehabbing


Second baseman Mark Ellis, who spent most of his career in Oakland before joining the Dodgers this year, continued the rehabilitation of his injured left leg at Oakland Coliseum.


"I did some sprints today; I'm running the bases here the next couple of days," said Ellis, who required emergency surgery on the leg May 19 after he was upended by a sliding runner. "I'm further along than I thought I'd be. The thing that's pleasantly surprising is every day it seems to get a little stronger, a little bit better."


Ellis said there's still no timetable for his return, but that it's a matter of weeks.


"I know it's not days," he said.


--Jim Peltz