LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp progressed to running the bases Saturday, one of the final steps for the Dodgers outfielder as he works his way back from a sprained left ankle and tight right hamstring.
"Matt had a good day today," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before Saturday's game against the Giants. "He ran the bases. He had 13 at-bats, or something like that. He's feeling good. We've been down this road a number of times. As we get to the bases, we're starting to get close to playing."
Kemp has been working out at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale for over a week. The last time he was close to coming off the disabled list, Mattingly said Kemp felt tightness in the same hamstring that sidelined him for nearly a month earlier in the season.
The Dodgers' medical staff will have a chance to evaluate Kemp on Monday, when the club opens a 10-game road trip in Arizona.
"If he's ready to roll, then we'll do something," Mattingly said.
But Mattingly said the club has not discussed activating Kemp from the disabled list and would wait for that conversation until seeing him Monday. The Dodgers have an opening for Kemp in their crowded outfield with Andre Ethier dealing with a left ankle issue.
"Andre is banged up, so it's an opportunity to play without having to juggle," Mattingly said. "As soon as Matt gets cleared to play, Matt's going to play."
Kemp has not played in the Majors since July 21, when he sprained his ankle in an awkward slide at the plate in Washington. He's been limited to just 62 games this season and has been on the disabled list three times.
Hanley wants to return quickly from nerve issue
LOS ANGELES -- Hanley Ramirez thought he could continue to play through the discomfort he'd been feeling in his left hamstring for several weeks, but it reached a tipping point Thursday night, the shortstop said.
Ramirez knew the tingling sensation in his hamstring was a result of a nerve issue in his lower back that he's dealt with for two years. But after playing six innings Thursday, something changed and Ramirez decided to tell the Dodgers' athletic training staff what was going on.
"I knew what it was," Ramirez said Saturday. "I knew it was a nerve. I was feeling a little bit of tingling down my legs. I kept playing. I just got to the point that I told myself that I have to tell them what was going on and see if we can fix it for the playoffs. I don't want to be like this by that time."
Ramirez is out through the weekend at least after having two cortisone injections in his lower back Friday. For now, the discomfort in his hamstring has subsided.
"I'm good," Ramirez said. "I'm just sore where they put that needle. Everything else feels good. I'm just waiting for the soreness to go away and we'll see after that. I thought it was going to be worse. ... The only reason we did [the injection] was because I know I want to be on the field by playoff time."
While Ramirez missed two weeks in 2011 with a similar issue, he said that injury was "way worse." If the discomfort in his hamstring returns again this season, Ramirez said he would try to play through it and avoid another injection.
"We'll see how long it lasts and see how I feel," he said. "I don't think I'm going to need another one because I don't want to miss a couple days. We don't need that. I'm just going to keep going. Like I told them, if it would have been the playoffs I would have been on the field."
The Dodgers could clinch the National League West by Sunday and Ramirez wants to play as much as possible over the final two weeks of the regular season to stay sharp for October.
"I want to keep playing," he said. "We haven't reached our goal yet. ... I'm not the same player when I get too many days off, like four or five. It takes me a little while to get my timing back. That's why they would try to give me a day off and I would tell them no. I'm a gamer."
Ankle problem will keep Ethier out a few days
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier won't play for at least a couple of days because of a left ankle issue, manager Don Mattingly said Saturday.
"It will be at least a couple days before we use him," Mattingly said. "We'll see where he goes. He's pretty sore today. We're going to be cautious with him."
Ethier came out of Friday's game against the Giants in the eighth inning after aggravating his ankle, which he said has bothered him since twisting it during a series in Colorado at the beginning of the month. He walked out of the clubhouse Saturday night with a protective boot over his left foot.
Mattingly said Ethier feels discomfort in his ankle when he runs curves or makes turns, but not when he runs straight.
"It's kind of like shin splints on the outside of the bone," the manager said. "Instead of being in the front, it's on the outside of that left ankle. When he makes a turn or a cut, that makes him sore."
Mattingly said Ethier had an MRI exam and X-ray on his ankle this week, which did not reveal any structural damage, and he is confident the outfielder will be able to play in the postseason.
The Dodgers have a comfortable lead over the D-backs in the National League West and could clinch the division as early as Sunday, so the club does not need to rush Ethier back to the field.
"We're going to rest him to get him right," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers promoted outfielders Alex Castellanos and Nick Buss from Triple-A before Saturday's game in a roster move Mattingly described as "protection" while Ethier is out. To make room for Buss on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers transferred reliever Jose Dominguez to the 60-day disabled list. Dominguez had been on the 15-day DL since July 23 with a left quad strain.
Capuano still sore, will back off throwing
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Capuano experienced discomfort in his left groin during a bullpen session Friday, and the Dodgers don't have plans for the left-hander to throw off a mound again at this point, according to manager Don Mattingly.
"He was a little sore," Mattingly said before Saturday's game against the Giants. "He felt it a little bit towards the end as he tried to do a little extra. We're going to slow him down a little bit."
Capauno was forced from his start last Friday in Cincinnati in the second inning with what the Dodgers called a mild groin strain. He's also missed time this season with a strained left calf and a strained latissimus muscle in his left shoulder.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.