Ninth on the starter depth chart in Spring Training, it would have been easy to assume that Dodgers right-hander Stephen Fife would see little time on a Major League mound this season.
However, Fife has been a valuable asset as Los Angeles' fifth starter since Josh Beckett and Ted Lilly were knocked out of the rotation by injuries.
In four starts since being called up at the beginning of June, Fife has a 2.35 ERA and has allowed no more than two earned runs in each start.
"It's been great. Stephen has really given us good starts every time out," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's been pretty solid. Every time he goes out there, he keeps us in the game and gives us a chance. It's been huge for us."
He'll look to keep up that pace Tuesday against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Fife allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in six innings for the no-decision Thursday against the Padres. He also struck out six batters.
Meanwhile, left-hander Mike Kickham will make an emergency start for the Giants in place of Chad Gaudin, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
Kickham made his Major League debut May 28 at Oakland, taking a loss in 2 1/3 innings, while allowing four runs on four hits.
Kickham went 3-5 with a 4.81 ERA in 14 starts for Fresno this season, striking out 69 batters and walking 33 in 78 2/3 innings. Working on his mechanics during that time in Triple-A, Kickham has focused on making sure his front shoulder doesn't fly open.
"I kind of know what to expect," Kickham said of his return to the Majors. "Having been there before will benefit me."
Giants: Pagan to have surgery
Angel Pagan will undergo surgery Tuesday on his left hamstring, which could sideline him for the rest of the season.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Pagan's procedure, which will be performed in Los Angeles, could keep the leadoff hitter out for up to 12 weeks.
Pagan, who will turn 32 on July 2, resisted surgery when it was an option after he initially injured himself. The switch-hitter instead focused his efforts toward healing himself enough to rejoin the lineup. However, he hasn't played since May 25.
"After getting a second opinion, the consensus was that surgery's the best option right now," Bochy said.
Dodgers: Kemp, Van Slyke nearing return
Matt Kemp and Scott Van Slyke could be activated from the disabled list by the end of the Dodgers' three-game series against the Giants.
Kemp and Van Slyke each played in their third Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday and will return to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, when the club's medical staff will evaluate them.
"We still feel like he needs at-bats," Mattingly said about Kemp before Monday's series opener against the Giants. "I'll get a chance to talk to him tomorrow and we'll see how he feels. I don't think he wants come back until he's ready to go and has his timing."
• Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford continues to rehab his strained left hamstring in Arizona at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, but Mattingly said the left fielder has not progressed to running full speed.
• The Giants are 24-12 when they score first this season. However, the team is 14-26 when the opposition scores first.