PITTSBURGH -- Relievers Hong-Chih Kuo and Ronald Belisario are making significant progress toward activation.
Kuo, on the disabled list with typical elbow problems, made 20 throws off a mound on Tuesday and reported no problems Wednesday.
"A good sign," said Kuo.
Manager Joe Torre said everything's been good with Kuo's recovery, and "if it continues to be good, we'll think about sending him somewhere" on an injury rehab assignment, probably first to extended spring at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
That's where Belisario has been since reporting five weeks late to Spring Training. He threw to hitters Tuesday with no problem, and he's scheduled to make his first game appearance on Friday. Torre said that by the end of next week, Belisario could be tested in back-to-back games.
If that's the case, he's ahead of schedule and could be activated in less than two weeks.
Torre rearranges lineup vs. Ohlendorf, Bucs
PITTSBURGH -- With the Pirates throwing the right-hander Ross Ohlendorf on Wednesday night, Dodgers manager Joe Torre returned Matt Kemp to the second spot in the batting order, dropping Russell Martin to eighth. On Opening Day, Martin hit second, Kemp fifth and each had a pair of hits.
"It's going to take a little time -- if I ever do -- for a lineup to be out there every day," Torre said. "I have to get the feel for where I think it's going to work."
Torre said he hasn't considered replacing Rafael Furcal at leadoff.
"To me, he's ideal there," said Torre. "It's a good spot for him. He's like Russell -- he gets overanxious instead of letting the game come to him."
Torre said if he were to replace Furcal, it would probably be with Martin because of his on-base percentage. But "if I ever did that, it wouldn't be for more than a game. Furky is the leadoff guy. I have to be committed to him, he's so important for us. For me, that's the best place for him."
Torre said he was likely to begin on Thursday a system of resting left fielder Manny Ramirez and third baseman Casey Blake for all day games after night contests. Reed Johnson would start in left and Ronnie Belliard at third. But Torre said he wasn't sure if James Loney would start against left-hander Paul Maholm. If Loney doesn't start, Belliard would play first base and Jamey Carroll at third.
Torre has Derby fever
PITTSBURGH -- Joe Torre, who has something of a golden touch when it comes to owning thoroughbred race horses, is part owner of Homeboykris, a 3-year-old gelding who is being pointed for the 136th Kentucky Derby on May 1.
The Dodgers will host the Pirates that night, so Torre will be watching the race on television at Dodger Stadium, while his wife, Alli, will represent the family at Churchill Downs.
Homeboykris currently has enough graded-stakes earnings from a win in last year's Champagne Stakes to be one of the 20 Derby starters. He's trained by Rick Dutrow Jr.
A year ago, Torre was part owner of another Derby candidate, Vineyard Haven, but the partners sold the horse for $12 million to Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. Torre has never owned a Kentucky Derby starter, but in 2005, he was part owner of Sis City, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks -- the female equivalent of the Derby.
Haeger to pitch Sunday, Padilla day prior
PITTSBURGH -- Manager Joe Torre decided to have fifth starter Charlie Haeger start the sixth game of the season on Sunday vs. the Marlins, with Opening Day starter Vicente Padilla starting the fifth game on Saturday night.
Torre held off deciding who would pitch which game until he saw how Padilla came out of his Opening Day start. Although it didn't go well -- seven runs in 4 1/3 innings -- Torre said Padilla came out of it fine physically, apparently having no issues with the sore forearm that bothered him in the spring.
"I want to get him out there as soon as possible," Torre said of Padilla. "No, I didn't like what I saw. I know there's something more there."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.