The Los Angeles Dodgers still own baseball's best record despite playing the last 14 games without their star slugger.
Now, Matt Kemp appears ready to rejoin the lineup.
Kemp likely will play his first game in more than two weeks when Los Angeles hosts the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
Kemp was batting .359 with 12 home runs and 28 RBIs before being placed on the disabled list May 15 with a strained right hamstring.
The slugger went 5 for 7 with two homers in a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque, and should be activated for Tuesday's matchup. He has an eight-game hitting streak against the Brewers and went 2 for 5 with a homer in a 4-3 victory April 19 in Milwaukee.
Fellow Los Angeles outfielder Juan Rivera, who hasn't played since May 8 due to a strained hamstring but could rejoin the team Friday, also is performing well in Albuquerque.
"It wasn't about what they were able to accomplish down there as far as production," manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website. "It was way more that they were going to be healthy and obviously it sounds like everything is good."
Los Angeles (32-16) has won eight of 11 despite a series-opening 3-2 loss to the Brewers on Monday.
While Kemp and Rivera are on the mend, the pitching staff just got less healthy. The Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on the 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation Monday, meaning Nathan Eovaldi will make his first start of the season Tuesday after being called up from Double-A Chattanooga.
Eovaldi went 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 appearances - six starts - for the Dodgers in 2011, and was 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA in eight starts in the minors this season.
The right-hander's third career start was a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee last Aug. 17, when he allowed two runs in six innings.
The Brewers (20-28) are dealing with injuries of their own.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, whose .514 average with runners in scoring position leads the majors, is expected to miss four to six weeks with a broken right hand suffered when his wife accidentally dropped a suitcase on it in his hotel room. He reported to the stadium Monday without discussing the injury, but after taking swings decided he couldn't play. He took X-rays shortly thereafter, confirming the break.
"It hurts our team a lot,'' said manager Ron Roenicke, whose team now has seven players on the disabled list. "He feels really bad. Lucroy was certainly very important to what we are doing.''
Milwaukee will send Michael Fiers to the mound for his first appearance of the season after placing Marco Estrada on the DL with a strained quadriceps. Fiers was 1-3 with a 4.42 ERA for Triple-A Nashville this season. His only major league experience is two scoreless relief appearances for the Brewers last September.
Milwaukee had lost 10 of 14 prior to Monday's victory. Aramis Ramirez homered to tie the game in the fourth inning, then produced a go-ahead RBI single in the sixth.
"That was nice to come through,'' Roenicke said. "A lot of guys are going down. Everybody has to contribute now."
Ramirez is 6 for 10 with two homers in his last three games versus the Dodgers, who have lost seven of the last 10 meetings with the Brewers.
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Matt Kemp
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Los Angeles