LOS ANGELES -- Ramon Troncoso of the Dodgers is tied with the Mets' Fernando Nieve with a National League-high 14 appearances. George Sherill (12 appearances) and Ramon Ortiz (10) have been used heavily, too.
Manager Joe Torre expects Jeff Weaver, on the 15-day disabled list since April 22 with a back strain, to be available once he is eligible to return. But with uncertainty in the rotation and relief pitchers being turned into starters, Torre said the Dodgers do have a trend to worry about -- if it continues.
"Right now I think it's too early here to see if it's going to take a toll," he said. "If it continues, yeah."
Hong-Chih Kuo came off the disabled list as Weaver went on, but Torre is hesitant to use Kuo, who has had recurring elbow injuries in his throwing arm, on back-to-back days. Torre also wants to keep Kuo in reserve for games the Dodgers are leading.
Though it's not clear if Charlie Haeger will return to the rotation, as a knuckleballer he gives the Dodgers flexibility out of the bullpen.
Furcal receives treatment, still sidelined
LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal received a platelet rich plasma injection in his strained left hamstring on Thursday. The Dodgers shortstop has missed the last three games since he was hurt attempting to beat out a double play on Tuesday in the opener of a doubleheader.
Manager Joe Torre said Furcal was not available to pinch-hit Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series with the Pirates, but could be available in that role Friday.
"I think we'll have to wait and see how it goes the next couple days," Torre said. "We're not going to out there an have him play shortstop unless he's ready. It's not like being a DH."
Jamey Carroll started at shortstop Thursday. He went 2-for-12 on the Dodgers' 2-7 road trip, but was 1-for-2 with two runs, two walks and a strikeout Wednesday in a 7-3 loss to the Mets.
Kemp, Colletti meet, clear the air
LOS ANGELES -- Manager Joe Torre said he sat silent in a meeting between Matt Kemp and Ned Colletti on Wednesday, and Kemp said Thursday any bad feeling between him and the Dodgers general manager was "squashed."
Colletti criticized Kemp's play during a radio interview with KABC on Tuesday.
"That's just old news to me. I'm going to go out here, get ready for my day, ready to play a baseball game," said Kemp. "Everybody has their own opinions."
Kemp said he's been getting himself out at the plate, but stressed it was not time for him or the team, in last place in the NL West, to panic.
Kemp hit two home runs on the Dodgers' nine-game road trip, but hit just .242. On the season, Kemp is batting .292 with team highs in home runs (seven) and RBIs (20).
"How many games we got left, about 140, huh?" Kemp asked, rhetorically. "How many games are we behind? So we got 140 games to make up five games. Wow, that's very possible. Very very possible."
Monasterios to make first start
LOS ANGELES -- Three nights after rookie John Ely made his first career start for the Dodgers, rookie reliever Carlos Monasterios is scheduled to make his starting debut on Saturday opposite the Pirates' Zach Duke (2-2, 6.11).
Monasterios (1-0, 1.69) has six strikeouts and three walks in 10 2/3 innings over seven appearances this season, although he's allowed the only two runners he's inherited to score and hasn't been relied on in magnified spots.
Manager Joe Torre, said he hoped Monasterios could throw 70 to 75 pitches. If Monasterios struggles, Ramon Ortiz (0-1, 6.39), who was also a candidate to start the game, could work in long relief.
"I just told him, the last couple times you were out there you were free and easy, just go as hard as you can and then we'll come get you depending on pitch count," Torre said. "A lot of it's going to depend on how he starts out. If he runs counts up in the first couple innings, we may have to go get him earlier than anticipated."
Torre said he has not made a decision on who the team's fifth starter will be going forward -- Charlie Haeger, Monasterios or otherwise. The Dodgers can reset their rotation with an off-day Monday after a four-game series with Pittsburgh.
"I'll let you know when the time comes," Torre said.
Monasterios was a full-time starting pitcher in the Minor Leagues until last season, when only eight of his 37 appearances were starts between High-A and Double-A in the Phillies' organization.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.