Injury Roll Call: Hanley & Kemp return, Puig injury worry, Billingsley feels like new

HanleyRamirezBat

Hanley Ramirez has resumed baseball activities.

The shortstop hit off a tee and did fielding exercises on Monday for the first time since he last played Thursday.

He was back in the starting lineup yesterday and looked like his normal self, going 1-2 with 3 BB.

His health will be instrumental in how far the Dodgers go in the postseason.

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Matt Kemp was activated from the DL on Monday. Kemp was limited to a pinch-hitting role until Don Mattingly and the medical staff felt he could run the bases and play the field without issue.

Matt Kemp rejoined the Dodgers on Monday at Chase Field, and the outfielder was activated before the four-game series against the Diamondbacks. Kemp took early batting practice and ran the bases under the scrutiny of director of medical services Stan Conte before the game, and proved healthy enough to play.

“We’re going to see how BP goes, and see how he’s moving in the outfield, then make a decision,” manager Don Mattingly said before the Dodgers took batting practice.

Mattingly before the game, and before Kemp took outfield practice, said Kemp will be limited to pinch-hitting duty only, and likely will have to be replaced by a pinch hitter if he reaches base.

He pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Monday and struck out. But yesterday he went 4-4 with 2 2B and looked excellent doing it.

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Yasiel Puig dealt with left hip tightness over the weekend.

Yasiel Puig was not available to play the field Sunday because of tightness in his left hip, but the rookie felt well enough to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Giants.

Puig grounded into a forceout to shortstop with the bases loaded to end the game and said he expects to play during a four-game series in Arizona that begins Monday.

“It shouldn’t take very long before I’m back in the lineup,” Puig said through a translator.

He returned to the lineup on Monday.

The Dodgers will welcome back one injured outfielder to their starting lineup on Monday night against the Diamondbacks, but it isn’t Matt Kemp, yet. But Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup, in right field and batting cleanup.

Puig was removed on Saturday night and didn’t start on Sunday with left hip soreness. He pinch hit in the ninth inning on Sunday with the bases loaded and two outs, down 4-3, but grounded out to end the game.

It’s been a season of little injury after little injury for ManBearPuig. There’s reason to speculate that it’s being caused by his style of play, much like there was concern over Bryce Harper earlier in the year.

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Carl Crawford is day-to-day with back tightness.

Outfielder Carl Crawford in considered day to day with tightness in his back.

“We’ve dealt with it here and there, usually it’s been a day or two days with that,” Mattingly said.

Back injuries are always tricky, but the Dodgers have the luxury of resting Carl for as long as is needed before the postseason gets underway.

If all the outfielders are healthy, he could be the odd man out at this point.

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Scott Van Slyke is dealing with tightness in his ribs, according to Dylan Hernandez. Didn’t stop him from starting yesterday and walking three times while going 1-2, though.

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Jose Dominguez, currently on the 60-day DL, threw a bullpen session yesterday.

Jose Dominguez, also on the 60-day DL, will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He is the longest of long shots to join the Dodgers’ playoff roster, but at the very least could be an extra arm added for the final week or so of the season. Dominguez last pitched on July 22, so the earliest he could be activated is Saturday in San Diego. “He’s getting to the point where he’s able to throw a pen, so that’s down the road a little bit. But it’s been a while,” Mattingly said.

His possible return could lighten the load on the pen as we head towards the postseason.

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Chad Billingsley‘s throwing program is going remarkably well, according to reports.

Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley, not even five months removed from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, is four weeks into a throwing program with stunning results.

“My arm probably hasn’t felt this good since high school,” said Billingsley. “When you’re a teenager you pick up a ball and just start throwing, not worrying about having to loosen up. That’s how it feels now for the first time since I was in my teens. I’m really happy with how it feels and the way it’s going. They have to hold me back, it feels so good.”

Billingsley said that in addition to transplanting a new ligament, doctors shaved a bone spur they believe was adding to his discomfort.

He’s now playing catch at 90 feet and expects the distance to gradually increase. Without a setback, he hopes to throw off a mound around the first of the year and be ready for Spring Training.

“I’m sort of going week to week,” he said of his rehab at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. “I’m competing each task and doing all the exercises. I’m looking forward to the mound, but I’m not going to rush.”

A healthy Billingsley would make the Dodgers’ rotation even more formidable next season and give them plenty of options. A starting five of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun Jin Ryu, Ricky Nolasco (on a reasonable deal), and Bills would be a nightmare for opposing lineups.

It would also serve to give a guy like Zach Lee or Ross Stripling another year to develop.

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Scott Elbert continues to rehab following Tommy John surgery this June.

The Dodgers have used a franchise-record 27 pitchers this season, but Scott Elbert isn’t one of them. The left-handed relief pitcher is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on in June, at the Dodgers’ facility at Camelback Ranch in Arizona, and on Monday joined his teammates in the clubhouse at Chase Field as the Dodgers played the Diamondbacks.

“It’s nice, it makes me feel like a baseball player again,” Elbert said with a smile.

He had arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 19, 2012 to cleanup his elbow, then needed another cleanup procedure on Jan. 19.

That second procedure meant nearly all of Elbert’s spring training was spent doing rehab, and on March 25 got an injection of platelet-rich plasma into his elbow in hopes that would help the healing process.

But after experiencing pain in his elbow his rehab was shut down, and a meeting with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache confirmed a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

He would need Tommy John surgery, the third elbow procedure for Elbert in a 10-month span. The diagnosis was unexpected.

Elbert would likely have to sign an incentive-laden deal or a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training if he wants to be back next season. If he were healthy, he’d be a huge addition to the pen.

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Greg Zakwin is the founder of the site Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke and find him contributing at Yahoo! Sports.

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