SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra, who underwent right knee surgery June 5, could be headed out for a Minor League rehab assignment as early as next week.
Guerra had another bullpen session Tuesday, followed by pitchers' fielding practice, and manager Don Mattingly said Guerra will either have back-to-back bullpen sessions Thursday and Friday or even face hitters.
Guerra's injury was believed to have occurred when he was struck by a Brian McCann line drive in the jaw on April 25. After contact, Guerra spun toward his right and his spikes might have stuck. He remained in the game, suffered a blown save and two weeks later lost the closer job to Kenley Jansen.
In other health news, Matt Kemp and Mark Ellis continued recoveries from leg injuries. Neither has any soreness and Ellis has begun making cuts around the bases, which has been his biggest issue lately.
They also could be a week away from Minor League rehab assignments.
Dodgers go with offense-first lineup
SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman James Loney has a 6-for-12 history against Ryan Vogelsong, but Don Mattingly is managing in the present, so he left Loney and his .245 seasonal average out of Tuesday night's Dodgers lineup.
Mattingly also sat third baseman Juan Uribe, starting Juan Rivera at first base, Bobby Abreu in left field and Elian Herrera at third base.
"Really, I'm playing the guys I feel give us the best at-bats," said Mattingly. "Right now, it's tough. Juan is struggling, too. Elian swung the bat good last night. I have a little less defense with this lineup, but we're having trouble scoring runs and I've got to put the best offense out there. Right now, I've got to try to find ways to score.
"I've tried to tell James what's going on, just be honest. It's tough, but I've got to find production. Between James and Juan at the corners, two power positions, we've got two homers and 33 [RBIs]. We're still in a good position, but we won't be able to sustain it. I'm not trying to be [nasty] to anybody. It's not personal, but I've got to find production and it's not happening. You've got to produce. This is the big leagues, not instructional league or coming through the Minors."
Loney is eligible for free agency after this season, while Uribe is in the second year of a three-year contract. Nonetheless, it's no secret the Dodgers are looking on the trade market for corner infielders who can hit.
On the current trip, Loney is 0-for-14 and Uribe is 1-for-18. However, Herrera is 2-for-24 on the trip (0-for-15 most recently), A.J. Ellis is 2-for-16 and Abreu is 2-for-19.
Dodgers hire Hatcher as special assistant to GM
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers hired former Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher as a special assistant to general manager Ned Colletti on Tuesday.
Hatcher, 57, will devote time to helping with player development as well as assisting the Major League staff.
"It's a great feeling being a Dodger again; it feels like I've come back home," said Hatcher. "This is where my roots were and where I was taught everything about the game and where I learned about professionalism. I'm excited about the opportunity to meet everyone in the organization and about the energy created by the new ownership. I couldn't be happier right now."
The Dodgers are in the throes of a serious hitting slump, in which the club has had no more than five hits in five of the last seven games entering Tuesday. But manager Don Mattingly said Hatcher is not being brought in to assist hitting coach Dave Hansen, who took over for Jeff Pentland after last year's All-Star break.
"I haven't thought of that," Mattingly said about bringing Hatcher in as a second hitting coach. "I didn't know he was hired until today. In the plan for him, I didn't hear anything about him being a second guy."
Hatcher was dismissed by the Angels on May 15. As a 12-year Major League player, Hatcher spent two stints with the Dodgers, including a heroic fill-in role on the 1988 championship team when he hit .368 (7-for-19) with two homers, five RBIs and five runs scored in five games.
The Angels replaced Hatcher with Triple-A hitting coach Jim Eppard when the club ranked 27th in the Major Leagues in runs per game. At the time, new acquisition Albert Pujols was hitting .212. He's since caught fire, as have the Angels.
"He'll certainly be an asset to that organization," said Angels manager Mike Scoiscia. "I think his knowledge, his enthusiasm, is something that will be very strong for the Dodgers, and I'm sure he's excited about it."
Hatcher was in his 13th season as hitting coach for former teammate Scioscia. Following his playing career, Hatcher coached and managed in the Dodgers organization for Albuquerque (1991-92), Great Falls (1995-97) and San Bernardino (1998). He also spent time as the Texas Rangers' first-base coach (1993-94).
Dodgers move top prospect Lee to Double-A
SAN FRANCISCO -- Zach Lee, the two-sport star the Dodgers signed for a franchise-record $5.25 million two years ago, was promoted Tuesday from Class A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Chattanooga.
Lee, ranked by MLB.com as the club's top prospect, was 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA in 12 starts. In 55 1/3 innings, he yielded 60 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 52.
Lee's promotion has a dual purpose. Not only will it tell the Dodgers how close Lee is to reaching the Major Leagues, it will showcase him against better competition for clubs that will want him in a trade.
Despite the investment the Dodgers have made to sign Lee away from a quarterback job with LSU, the right-hander could become the centerpiece of any deadline deal the Dodgers make this summer.
Mattingly brushes off questions about Kershaw
SAN FRANCISCO -- Clayton Kershaw made it clear last week that he's tired of answering questions about his sore left foot.
Apparently, so is Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
"We haven't had to cut it off yet, but we're working with some prosthetics in case we have to," he deadpanned when asked before Tuesday night's game if Kershaw's plantar fasciitis was bothering him.
"Clayton's a lightning rod since he won the Cy Young," said Mattingly.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.