Brick by brick, piece by piece, the Dodgers' starting lineup is beginning to reassemble.
The team dealt with a rash of injuries during its recent seven-game road trip, leading to some reconfiguring in the top half of the lineup. Right fielder Yasiel Puig and second baseman Dee Gordon both missed time in Colorado with hip injuries, and shortstop Hanley Ramirez was sidelined in Cincinnati by irritation in his right shoulder, thinning a lineup that was already without left fielder Carl Crawford, third baseman Juan Uribe and catcher A.J. Ellis.
On Friday the 13th, of all days, the starting lineup's luck started to turn for the better. Ramirez was penciled back into the No. 2 hole between Gordon and Puig, and Ellis was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list for his first game action since May 24.
Though manager Don Mattingly is mainly concerned with game-calling from his catchers, he certainly welcomes the return of Ellis, who has been limited to 16 games this year.
"I think it helps us," Mattingly said before Friday night's 4-3 victory over the D-backs. "The one thing about A.J., even when his average may not be jumping out at you, he's always going to give you a tough at-bat every day. He makes the pitcher work, so I think we'll look forward to that. It gives us just another quality out."
The Dodgers' rejuvenated lineup will look to support starter Dan Haren on Saturday night when he faces off against D-backs right-hander Josh Collmenter.
Collmenter is 4-3 with a 3.65 ERA this season. He's coming off a seven-inning loss to the Astros in which he allowed four runs, three earned.
Haren, 6-4 with a 3.49 ERA on the year, pitched well in his last start at Cincinnati, allowing just two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He was the beneficiary of a strong showing from his offense in the 6-2 victory on Monday.
The Dodgers were in sync offensively to start the road trip, averaging 5.8 runs over the first five games. But they scored just once in the final two games -- both with Ramirez limited due to the shoulder issue.
Could his return -- as well as that of Ellis -- give the Dodgers' lineup a boost on the homestand?
"We'll see," Mattingly said. "We've actually been pretty good offensively until the last couple of days. ... We can't let that totally influence us."
D-backs: Collmenter looks to start strong
It could've been an early shower for Collmenter on Monday against the Astros.
The right-hander surrendered two runs in each of the first two innings as the Astros jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. But Collmenter blanked Houston over the next five innings, saving an overtaxed bullpen and giving his offense a chance at a comeback in what became a 4-3 loss.
"Colly did a heck of a job, all things considered, with our bullpen the way it was," manager Kirk Gibson said. "For him to give us seven innings and 100 pitches in that situation the way he started, that was excellent. He did his job."
Collmenter -- a reliever-turned-starter -- has pitched well of late, going 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA in his past five starts. The key for him in his rebound the last time out was locating down in the zone and mixing in his off-speed pitches.
"Really about the third inning I started settling in and was able to locate the fastball and was able to keep it down in the zone," Collmenter said. "We started mixing that up just to get them off first-pitch fastballs or whatever it may be. I think it had a pretty good effect in how the last few innings went. Just being able to steal some strikes early, plant a couple of things in their head by throwing breaking balls or changeups early and then fastballs late."
Collmenter is 4-6 with a 5.19 ERA against the Dodgers in 14 career games (six starts).
Dodgers: Looking to improve at home
After seven games on the road, the Dodgers are in the midst of a six-game homestand. The smell of home cooking could be a good thing for the Dodgers -- in theory.
Dodger Stadium has been home to more losses than wins this season for the host team. The Dodgers are 14-19 there and haven't strung together more than two consecutive wins on any homestand this season.
"We've had our problems at home," Mattingly said. "We'll try to solve that riddle. We're going to need to solve that riddle if we're going to be able to do anything."
Working in the Dodgers' favor could be Haren, who is 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season.
• Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and former teammates Rick Honeycutt and Mark McGwire will represent the club at Saturday's funeral service for Bob Welch in Scottsdale, Ariz. The group is expected to return to Los Angeles in time for Honeycutt and McGwire to handle their coaching duties for Saturday night's game.
• D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is a career .333 hitter (33-for-99) with six home runs at Dodger Stadium.
• The Dodgers' bullpen has excelled of late, with left-hander J.P. Howell not allowing a run in his past 13 appearances.
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.