Beard is back: Wilson joins Dodgers' bullpen
LA activates veteran reliever, options outfielder Van Slyke
MIAMI -- Brian Wilson said his activation from the disabled list before Monday's Dodgers-Marlins game is the "final step" in his 16-month recovery from a second Tommy John surgery.
Wilson said reduced velocity "doesn't matter. It's about getting outs," and he convinced the Dodgers he's ready for the assignment. The Dodgers optioned outfielder Scott Van Slyke to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Wilson.
Wilson, who made four scoreless appearances while on a Minor League rehab assignment, gives the Dodgers three former All-Star closers to support current closer Kenley Jansen.
Manager Don Mattingly, going with eight relievers for now, said Wilson will help ensure that "we keep guys healthy and not overused. He's another guy we can use later in the game.
"He hasn't pitched in a long time. But there are things we know. We know he's not afraid, we know he's been there before."
Wilson hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since April 2012, when he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery. He was non-tendered by the Giants last winter.
The Dodgers signed Wilson to join Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez to pitch the seventh and eighth innings. Also in the bullpen is another pair of former All-Star closers -- Brandon League and Carlos Marmol -- along with J.P. Howell.
Van Slyke, who has been recalled four times this year, had given the Dodgers a right-handed power bat who can play the corner-outfield spots and first base.
Kemp making slow progress with left ankle
MIAMI -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp began taking slight turns while jogging in the outfield, but even manager Don Mattingly concedes Kemp isn't likely to return before rosters expand Sept. 1.
"We thought he'd have a chance before September, but Matt's still not playing," said Mattingly. "He's still not there as time marches on. We don't feel he's moving backward. He's just moving forward slowly."
Kemp is still moving gingerly on the left ankle he badly sprained four weeks ago, landing him on the disabled list. He's not running at close to 100 percent, hasn't done stops and starts, hasn't done sharp cutting and hasn't run the bases.
He's also now wearing a sleeve around his left calf, saying that it's precautionary because he has a tendency of calf tightness. And when he does come back, he'll need to fight through the arthritic soreness atop his left shoulder that put him on the disabled list in July and might need offseason surgery.
Dodgers going with eight relievers, short bench
MIAMI -- By activating Brian Wilson and optioning Scott Van Slyke to Triple-A Albuquerque, the Dodgers made an August roster move meant for September and October, a move in the name of hoarding inventory.
They don't need eight relievers, but that's how many they have. They could have released Carlos Marmol, but manager Don Mattingly said, "We really like Carlos." They could have optioned reliever Chris Withrow, but he's stepped into a middle-relief role and has become too valuable.
So until rosters expand Sept. 1, Mattingly said the Dodgers will try to play one position player short. And he said he's "a little" concerned about it.
"It's something we'll try to navigate," Mattingly said. "It comes into play when the starter doesn't go deep and we have to pinch-hit a few times."
It might mean Zack Greinke joins the list of hitters for games he's not pitching.
What it means the most is that management likes what it's seen from Marmol, the deposed closer of the Cubs.
"We really like Carlos and what he has a chance to bring," said Mattingly. "We can use him in a couple of roles. He's really flexible, he can throw the ball every day. He threw 20 [pitches] and felt he could throw again the next day. He bounces back easily."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.