LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers outfield is getting crowded.
With center fielder Matt Kemp activated from the disabled list Tuesday and injured outfielders Scott Van Slyke and Carl Crawford close to returning to the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly will soon mix and match at all three outfield spots.
"I want us to be flexible because of lineups," Mattingly said. "I want us to be able to go right and left, so I can to go all right-handed [hitters] or have two out of three left-handed."
The initial signs of change came Tuesday, when Yasiel Puig started in left for the first time since being recalled June 3. Puig had primarily played right when Kemp was sidelined, with Andre Ethier sliding over from right to fill in for Kemp in center. Ethier was back in right Tuesday, though Mattingly said Ethier would still spell Kemp in center at times.
"Yasiel is still going to play right," Mattingly said. "I need to be able to move him from right to left. He just wants to play. I think he can do anything."
Van Slyke could return from a left shoulder issue this week. He primarily played left before he was injured, but can also play right as well as first base and gives the Dodgers a right-handed bat with power.
Mattingly said he anticipated getting Crawford back at some point during a nine-game road trip that begins next Tuesday in Colorado. The manager said Crawford would only play left when he returns from a strained left hamstring.
The Dodgers are also considering playing Kemp at the corners to ease the burden on his troublesome hamstrings. But Kemp hasn't played right since 2009 and hasn't been in left since 2006, his first Major League season.
Van Slyke to work on timing before activation
LOS ANGELES -- Scott Van Slyke needs a few more Minor League rehab games before the Dodgers are ready to activate the outfielder from the disabled list, manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday.
Van Slyke, out since June 11 with left shoulder bursitis, returned to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday after three rehab games with Triple-A Albuquerque. But management believes the rookie still needs additional rehab games with Class A Rancho Cucamonga to get his timing down.
"We want him to play a couple more days," Mattingly said before Tuesday's game against the Giants. "He feels like his timing is not quite right."
Van Slyke was 2-for-12 with two doubles with the Isotopes, where he rehabbed with Matt Kemp, who was activated Tuesday. Van Slyke said his shoulder was feeling stronger, though.
"I think after the first couple games it was sore," Van Slyke said. "It's definitely feeling a lot better."
While Van Slyke was not on the 40-man roster to begin the season, he earned a second chance and capitalized by hitting .221 with six home runs and 11 RBIs in 24 games with the Dodgers before his injury. Mattingly said the club would find room for Van Slyke once he's ready.
"We like him; he gives us a guy off the bench with power," Mattingly said. "He gives us another right-handed bat in the outfield. He makes us better, I believe."
Federowicz getting more playing time with Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Now that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has a younger backup catcher in Tim Federowicz, apparently he's going to use him.
Federowicz started Tuesday night against the Giants and rookie starter Mike Kickham, Federowicz's second start in three games.
Mattingly said starter A.J. Ellis, who caught Hyun-Jin Ryu on Monday night, caught four consecutive days last week and was expected to catch "the next couple," according to Mattingly.
Mattingly said Ellis was just "getting a day" and gave no indication he was considering a platoon, but he is starting Federowicz more frequently than he did Ramon Hernandez, who was released after starting 11 of the first 65 games, four while Ellis was on the disabled list.
"I like A.J. with [Clayton] Kershaw, and he and Zack [Greinke] hooked up good last time," said Mattingly. "I look at Fed, he calls a good game, he's a good defensive catcher."
Offensively, Federowicz entered Tuesday hitting .185 with two homers and nine RBIs in 25 games, while Ellis was hitting .266 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 50 games. Ellis had thrown out 17 of 33 potential basestealers (third in the league). Federowicz had thrown out four of 10.
• Pitcher Ted Lilly, on the disabled list with a neck strain, threw a 25-pitch simulated game Tuesday, facing hitters Kemp, Luis Cruz and Van Slyke. Mattingly said Lilly would throw at least one more bullpen session before beginning a rehab assignment.
• The Dodgers' top two Draft picks made their professional debuts Tuesday night for Class A Great Lakes. First-round pick Chris Anderson struck out five in two scoreless innings while allowing a single. Second-round pick Tom Windle struck out two in two scoreless innings while allowing a walk.