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Matt Kemp gets day off following return to lineup

Matt Kemp was out of the lineup for the series finale against the Giants as a precaution.

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp wasn't thrilled about the decision and looked at skipper Don Mattingly "funny" after finding out he would not be in the lineup for Wednesday night's series finale against the Giants.


Andre Ethier got the start in center field and hit fifth. Skip Schumaker was in left and hit eighth as Yasiel Puig returned to right field as the No. 2 hitter.


Mattingly is handling Kemp similar to the way he continues to handle shortstop Hanley Ramirez after he returned from a hamstring injury of his own — with a watchful eye.


When Ramirez returned from the disabled list, he was given an off day here and there from the Dodgers skipper, and Kemp can expect the same treatment.


After begging and pleading with Mattingly to be in the lineup on Tuesday, Kemp made his return after nearly a month off in the Dodgers' 6-5 win over the Giants. Mattingly says he thought Kemp should have played a couple of more rehab games to make sure he was ready, although Kemp didn't agree.


In his return, Kemp went 1-for-4, scored a run and made a game saving catch at the wall to preserve the win.





Wednesday would have marked his fifth straight day in the starting lineup if you include his rehab stint with Triple-A Albuquerque, and Mattingly wanted to be mindful of that.


Although the All-Star center fielder went 2-for-11 on his rehab assignment and possibly didn't exert as much energy as he would have in a Major League game, he definitely went all out on Tuesday night.


"A lot of times you play at the minor league level it's not the same energy, not the same intensity and I bet you he's a little sore today," Mattingly said of Kemp, who will be available late in the game if the situation requires his services. "Just body-wise. And all of a sudden he's been out a month and he plays four days in a row and then plays at a different energy level."


The handling of reliever Brandon League is a bit more delicate. After coming into the game on Tuesday night with a three-run cushion in the top of the ninth inning, the one-time Dodgers closer surrendered two runs on three hits and didn't record an out. 


He'll now have a new, undecided role in the Dodgers bullpen in hopes that he can get his mojo back.


"Obviously, we've got to use him a little differently than we've tried to use him," Mattingly said. "In a situation that's a little less stressful.


"(We've) got to start piecing him back together, really."


Early Wednesday, League watched video with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Chuck Crim and found some mechanical flaws that have to be worked out.


"(He has to start) keeping everything together and staying closed longer," Mattingly said of what the coaching staff noticed on tape. "He was our closer at the beginning of the year. We know he's got the stuff."


The Dodgers will be going for the series sweep against the Giants at Chavez Ravine and are looking to extend their season-high four-game winning streak. Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.06 ERA) will be on the mound against Tim Lincecum (4-7, 4.52 ERA).