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Friday, September 27, 2013
Dodgers starting to get healthy

By Dan Arritt
Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- With the start of the postseason less than a week away, getting all the Los Angeles Dodgers in a row continues to be management's primary focus.

Most of the Dodgers lined up for the team picture Friday at Dodger Stadium and then prepped for their series opener against the visiting Colorado Rockies, but injured outfielder Andre Ethier was at the team’s spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz.

Ethier, who’s been sidelined the last two weeks with shin splits near his left ankle, took 15 at-bats during a simulated game earlier in the day, manager Don Mattingly said. The Dodgers sent Ethier to Camelback Ranch to keep his timing sharp at the plate, though he continues to be limited to straight-ahead running.

“That’s the main reason for going there, to get 10 to 15 [at-bats] a day,” Mattingly said.

It’s the same regimen the Dodgers used for Matt Kemp as he worked his way back from ankle and hamstring injuries earlier this month. Kemp is hitting .355 since his Sept 16 return.

The other player who’s being monitored closely is shortstop Hanley Ramirez. He’s in the starting lineup for Friday’s opener against the Rockies, but likely won’t play in Saturday’s game and Sunday’s status is still to be determined, Mattingly said.

Ramirez has battled hamstring injuries this season and, more recently, an irritated nerve in his back that has caused hamstring tightness. The goal is to have Ramirez as fresh as possible for Thursday’s playoff opener against either the Atlanta Braves or St. Louis Cardinals, likely to be played on the road.

“He’s not going to want to come out once we get there,” Mattingly said. “He’ll accept all of this, knowing that gives him the best chance of playing every day [in the opening round].”

Left-hander pitcher Chris Capuano is also available to pitch out of the bullpen, Mattingly said. Capuano is coming off a strained groin muscle and hasn’t pitched since Sept 6. He made 20 starts for the Dodgers this season, but his best chance of making the postseason roster is as a reliever.

Capuano, a nine-year veteran, has never pitched in the postseason.