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Thursday, February 28, 2013
Now playing ... Matt Kemp (maybe)

By Mark Saxon

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The tentative plan is for Matt Kemp to be in center field when the Dodgers play the San Diego Padres on Friday afternoon. In fact, he will be out there unless Kemp or one of the Dodgers trainers walks up to Don Mattingly on Friday morning and says he can't go.

If he plays, Kemp will have missed just one week of spring games recovering from October shoulder surgery. The news isn't as rosy on Carl Crawford, who is being held out longer after experiencing some forearm tightness near his surgically repaired left elbow.

"It's not like we're going play [Kemp] nine innings. We're going to give him a couple of at-bats and he's going to go home," manager Don Mattingly said Thursday.

... Ted Lilly faced hitters for the first time since May 23. He gave up a long home run to Howie Kendrick, but had an otherwise breezy two-inning performance Thursday. For Lilly, just getting on the mound against competition was a step forward, considering he is coming off shoulder surgery.

The Dodgers have the coming weeks to figure out what to do with Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, the three veteran starting pitchers with no apparent job in the Dodgers' rotation. Mattingly said that neither Harang or Lilly strike him as fits for the bullpen. It's possible the Dodgers could give Lilly extra time to get his shoulder in shape by placing him on a rehabilitation assignment to start the season.

That doesn't sound like Lilly's first choice.

"If I was hurt, yeah," Lilly said. "Not if I’m healthy. I’ve been on the disabled list long enough. It’s time for me to get out and compete and help somebody."

... There was a relaxed atmosphere in the Dodgers clubhouse Thursday afternoon. Zack Greinke and Luis Cruz were in such a heated ping-pong match, Clayton Kershaw had to briefly interrupt his post-start interview to watch.

"That's the greatest rally I've ever seen," Kershaw said.

Later, while Lilly was talking, his 2-year-old son, Theo, kept clamoring for his attention: "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" Finally, Lilly responded with a firm, parental, "I'm not finished talking yet," and picked the lad up.