SAN FRANCISCO -- With so much focus on Matt Kemp's recovery, Mark Ellis just might beat him back to the lineup.
That would seem to be a miracle comeback for Ellis, who underwent emergency surgery May 19 to relieve pressure from swelling in his lower left leg after a take-out slide by St. Louis baserunner Tyler Greene.
"He's got a chance of going out [on a Minor League rehab assignment]," manager Don Mattingly said Monday. "He'll run the bases tomorrow. We feel like he is close. [Kemp and Ellis] are neck and neck. [Ellis] may be a touch ahead."
The Dodgers are 22-11 with Ellis starting at second base and batting second. They are 21-19 when he isn't.
Kemp's All-Star availability still in limbo
SAN FRANCISCO -- Every few days, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says outfielder Matt Kemp, currently on the disabled list, won't play in the All-Star Game if he hasn't first played in a Dodgers game, and he repeated that mandate Monday, with the All-Star Game 15 days away.
"If he hasn't played a game for us, it's hard to think of Matt playing his first game in the All-Star Game," said Mattingly, who has had that conversation with Kemp. "The home run contest, nobody has a problem with that. We're still a couple of weeks away before the break. But he hasn't played a rehab -- he's been out a long time. I think Matt feels the same way. To me, he says he wants to make sure he's healthy. We've talked about it when it comes up like this.
"We're talking about him playing for us before the break. We're talking about guessing when he'll be ready. It seems silly to me. He's not ready to play yet and we're talking about the All-Star Game. We're talking about practice."
Kemp has played one game since May 14 because of a left hamstring he strained twice. Mattingly said the club wants Kemp to play in five or six Minor League rehab games this time, because the two games he played in his last Minor League rehab didn't provide enough of a test to prevent him from blowing out worse on May 30.
Kemp has been the leading National League vote-getter in All-Star balloting this year and, as last year's home run champ, was named to captain the NL team in the Home Run Derby.
Mattingly said Kemp had another good workout Monday and "there's a chance he'll be going out to play some games," but Mattingly wouldn't give a time frame. He said he "hoped" it was before the All-Star break.
Kemp wouldn't even be eligible to play in the All-Star Game if he's still on the disabled list.
"He's got to be healthy or he can't play," said general manager Ned Colletti. "We'll have to see. No doubt he really wants to play."
Mattingly works with Uribe on hitting
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly held a tutoring session at the batting cage with struggling third baseman Juan Uribe during early batting practice Monday.
The mechanical flaw Mattingly targeted will be familiar to any Little Leaguer.
"He needs to keep his butt underneath him and the bat in the strike zone," said Mattingly. "His head gets in front and the bat drags behind. He's got to try to get that drag out of there."
Uribe, a former Giant, missed nearly a month with an arthritic left wrist, returning June 11. He's hitting .225 with one homer and 12 RBIs in 36 games on the season, and the Dodgers are known to be looking for corner infielders because neither Uribe nor first baseman James Loney are producing as hoped.
Uribe figured to be up against it Monday night. He came into the game 2-for-21 lifetime against Giants starter Barry Zito. Loney, 2-for-28 against Zito, did not start.
Mattingly welcomes heckling by Giants fans
SAN FRANCISCO -- The animosity of Giants fans toward the Dodgers has spanned two coasts and two centuries while sometimes reaching a fever pitch.
Manager Don Mattingly, though, likes coming to AT&T Park, and the more heckling, the better.
"I like the energy," said Mattingly. "The fans are kind of rowdy and it gives me a little feel of Boston. They try to get under your skin. I like that. It doesn't work, but I like just that they're trying. It goes in one ear and out the other."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.