DENVER -- As the Dodgers continue to deal with injuries that have landed half of their starting position players on the disabled list, one key player is very close to returning.
Juan Rivera was back with the club in Colorado on Friday for reevaluation following four rehab starts as he works back from a left hamstring strain that put him on the DL on May 9. He will not be activated in Colorado, but may well return to the 25-man roster when the team goes to Philadelphia for a four-game set starting Monday.
"He's doing really well, and he feels good," manager Don Mattingly said. "I'm hearing sometime in Philly. We're going to do more testing today with him and see where's he's at -- he's been playing the last couple days. Then we'll make a decision about whether to play him one more game [in the Minors] or if we feel like he's ready to go. We'll be patient."
Rivera played his second of two games with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night, logging four innings in left field and three at first base. He went 1-for-4 with a home run, and he has hit .250 (3-for-12) in his four rehab starts.
"He's doing great," head athletic trainer Sue Falsone said. "We're going to put him through more agility stuff. It's a matter of getting him baseball ready. It's really hard to mimic game activity. Even rehab assignments don't mimic their big league game activity. It's just not the same intensity."
Even if Rivera feels ready to play in Colorado, Falsone was reluctant to give him the green light.
"Not at all likely here," she said of his prospect for reinstatement during the series with the Rockies. "You've got two day games here, and the altitude. There are a lot of variables here, so we'll either keep him here and work out a couple days, or talk to Donny and [see about another rehab game]."
Lilly's MRI reveals no structural damage
DENVER -- The Dodgers received good news regarding one of their core starters Friday, as the results of Ted Lilly's MRI came back revealing no structural damage to his left shoulder.
"Teddy's MRI went good," manager Don Mattingly said. "That was good for us. With the medication [they gave him], they expect him to have a few days off here with that, and basically start moving forward."
Lilly made his second trip to the disabled list on Monday, retroactive to May 24, with left shoulder inflammation. The left-hander began the season on the DL with unrelated neck stiffness, and has gone 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts.
"At this time we are not looking at surgery," head athletic trainer Sue Falsone said of Lilly. "We are looking at conservative treatment. Calm this thing down and rehab him back."
Matt Kemp, also on his second DL stint, will begin his rehab after a weekend of rest. Kemp went on the DL on May 14 with a left hamstring strain and was reactivated Tuesday before suffering the same injury in Thursday's game.
Kemp will meet the club in Philadelphia after spending the weekend with no activity of any kind.
"With everything that he's been through, the PRP [injections], the protocol is to do basically nothing for a few days, and he's probably better off doing nothing away from here," Mattingly said. "If he gets around us, he always wants to do something."
Kemp is hitting .355 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs in 36 games. When he returns to the team, it will be the beginning of a rehab process similar to the one he just completed.
"It's just about slowly but surely making sure he gets his range of motion back," Falsone said. "And then he begins to get his strength back, and once he does, he works on more power and agility and speed and those sorts of things. All the milestones are the same. You've got to check everything off."
Hairston gets nod at second for opener
DENVER -- Figuring out the lineup card has been a bit of a scramble for manager Don Mattingly in recent weeks, as numerous injuries have forced him to constantly reshuffle the names in play from his 25-man roster.
Five different players have taken a turn at second since Mark Ellis landed on the disabled list on May 19, with Jerry Hairston starting Friday's series opener in Colorado.
"I want to try to solidify second base," Mattingly said. "Instead of moving a bunch of different people, I know Jerry's going to play for the most part as much as I can. I'll give him a day, but I'm probably going to try and keep him at second a little more often to solidify the middle of the infield."
Hairston is one of four players Mattingly has counted on for versatility, along with Elian Herrera, A.J. Ellis and Ivan DeJesus, each of whom can play at least three different positions.
"I know it looks different when you see [newly called up rookie Alex Castellanos] and you see [Scott] Van Slyke and DeJesus, but we feel like these guys are all guys capable of hitting," Mattingly said. "We're going to win by playing defense and being able to pitch the ball. We're going to have to play our guys. ... So when we talk about a 25-man roster, we're going to use pretty much all of it."
Uribe taking BP, on track for rehab assignment
DENVER -- Juan Uribe is poised to take the final step in working his way back from a left wrist injury that sidelined him since May 14. Uribe has been working out with the Dodgers, and can be expected to begin a brief Minor League rehab assignment next week.
"Juan's been improving," manager Don Mattingly said Friday. "He'll be taking BP, and he's been progressing. The thing with Juan that's been good is he'll take BP, and then the next day he's been fine. So we've had two days of that. He's going to progress, and we'll probably within the next day or so be talking about him playing somewhere."
Mattingly is impressed with how quickly Uribe has gotten his feel for the game back, and wants to ensure he gets some game action in the Minors to get the timing down on his swing.
"Basically, he's been able to tolerate BP and doing more," Mattingly said. "Once he's able to do that, then the next thing is to be able to play games."
Head athletic trainer Sue Falsone said she'd like to see Uribe go through his regular pregame routine with the club throughout the series in Colorado before he moves on to a Minor League rehab assignment.
"We're taking it day by day with him," Falsone said. "He's kind of back into his normal hitting routine that he would do on any game day, so we're going to do that for a few days and let him settle into his regular routine before game play. He should be [ready for games] next week sometime."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.