LOS ANGELES -- In what was supposed to be his final injury rehab start before rejoining the Dodgers' rotation, Opening Day starter Vicente Padilla Sunday was roughed up by Chad Tracy and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Pitching for Albuquerque, Padilla went 5 2/3 innings and was charged with six runs (four earned) on eight hits, four of them for extra bases. Three of those (including two home runs) were by Tracy, son of former Dodgers and current Rockies manager Jim Tracy. Padilla struck out five without a walk.
Padilla has been on the disabled list since April 23 with an inflamed radial nerve in his throwing arm. He previously made two impressive rehab starts for Class A Inland Empire. He could make his next start for the Dodgers on Saturday in Boston.
"We'll talk to him Tuesday in Cincinnati," manager Joe Torre said before the Dodgers game Sunday. "He has a bullpen Wednesday and he's scheduled to go on Saturday. We have to be cautious and make sure he's honest. We don't want him to be almost there."
Struggling Kemp gets 'break' in finale
LOS ANGELES -- Even before being told he was out of the lineup Sunday, Matt Kemp addressed his 0-for-15 slump by watching video at his home of better times last year.
"I'm just taking a break," Kemp said after being told by manager Joe Torre that he would not start for the first time this year. "I like to play if I'm doing good or if I'm doing bad. Especially when I'm doing bad, because you can't get out of it if you're not in there."
Kemp said he's been trying too hard. He's hitting .224 on the current homestand and .266 overall.
"It's too early to be getting down," he said. "I was watching video last night of last year at my house. I just saw a little something that I'm going to work on right now and see if it works."
Torre said Kemp has been "fighting himself."
"It looks like he's just trying to put the ball in play, and that's certainly not what we want from him," said Torre. "The day off today, coupled with an off-day tomorrow and he'll come back Tuesday. He's gone through stretches like this. He just doesn't look like himself. I just thought, let's try it. A mind break, more than anything physical. He's strong as an ox."
Reed Johnson started in center field for Kemp.
Ethier takes out frustration on bat rack
LOS ANGELES -- Cameras caught Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier doing a little remodeling work on the bat rack after lining out in the fifth inning Saturday night.
Ethier's No. 16 cubicle in the rack was splintered six inches down the front, the bat leaving a semicircle indentation. In earlier times, a club might fine a player for such damage. In today's world, the bat rack will probably be autographed, authenticated and auctioned off for charity.
"I didn't see it, but I heard it," said manager Joe Torre, who was sitting about five feet away. "Donnie [Mattingly, batting coach] said, 'I like that.'
"It's just something that goes on when it means a lot to you. The only thing I ever say is that if you hurt yourself, that's a problem because the rest of the team suffers. I don't think it's done for show. I'd have a bigger problem with that. If it's sincere, I'm not going to take away from how much the game means to somebody. I don't think it embarrasses the organization. The organization should be proud of a guy that cares so much about helping the team win."
Ethier is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts in the series and is batting .239 without a home run in 12 games since returning from a broken finger.
Dodgers rookie Ely hits rough patch
LOS ANGELES -- After a rough debut in New York on April 28, Dodgers rookie right-hander John Ely reeled off six consecutive quality starts, shaving his ERA to 2.54. He was a four-pitch strike-thrower and, for all of his nervous antics on the field, he seemed to pitch with the effectiveness of a veteran.
But in his past two starts, he's allowed eight runs in 10 innings. More telling, he's allowed three home runs after not allowing any in his first seven starts.
"He's not as consistent getting pitches over the plate," manager Joe Torre said. "You look at Hiroki Kuroda for two or three starts, he couldn't do what he wanted to do, either. But Ely doesn't have the track record, so we have to make sure we stay with him, as far as supporting him."
Perhaps that's a nice way of saying that Ely needs to resume the strike-throwing pretty quickly, especially with Vicente Padilla likely to return to the rotation next week and the Dodgers needing a spot for him. It has been assumed that Carlos Monasterios would get bumped back to the bullpen, but in addition to needing a rotation spot for Padilla, the Dodgers also will be looking to demote somebody off the 25-man roster.
"He's not throwing his curveball for strikes as much as he did early on," said Torre. "That's a big part of what he does, not being a power pitcher."
Ely is considered strictly a starter. His next scheduled start is Friday in Boston.
Manny in Japan? Slugger ponders future
LOS ANGELES -- Manny Ramirez, a stranger to the media since Spring Training, granted an interview Sunday to Japanese network NHK.
Among the questions he fielded was one about playing in Japan. Ramirez, a free agent after this season, was non-committal.
"Obviously I'm here now, but you never know where you'll be tomorrow," he said.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.