LOS ANGELES -- While the Dodgers were successful in shoring up their lineup and bullpen through trades, the rotation has suddenly become the biggest issue for Los Angeles.
The front office was unable to land the frontline starter -- like Ryan Dempster -- that it was seeking, and there are questions as to whether the current rotation will be good enough down the stretch.
"I still think it's a concern," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think we have to pay attention and keep trying to get better. Look at the track record of [Chris] Capuano and Aaron [Harang] and obviously with Stephen [Fife] we don't know very much. We know [Clayton] Kershaw. Does it hold up?"
Having traded Nathan Eovaldi to acquire Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers are left with a rotation of Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Capuano, Harang and Fife as the team awaits the return of Ted Lilly.
Mattingly has been impressed with both Capuano and Harang thus far. He said Capuano has been great for the team, but he's not sure if he can keep it up and fully return to how he was pitching a few years ago. The lefty is 1-5 in his last seven starts and he has given up 11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings through his last two outings. He opened the season 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA through May.
As for Harang, Mattingly said the team couldn't have asked for more from the veteran. He is 7-6 with a 3.76 ERA, but in his last start Harang gave up seven earned runs in five innings.
"They are the reasons we are in the position that we are right now," Mattingly said.
Fife has been dependable in his first two starts going up against Roy Halladay and Matt Cain. He allowed only two runs in 12 1/3 innings. Billingsley threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his last start, but he has been a model of inconsistency.
Kershaw hasn't pitched like he did down the stretch last season, when he won the National League Cy Young Award, but he is still one of the top pitchers in the league. Lilly has said he doesn't feel ready to return yet and Rubby De La Rosa will be used as a reliever this season if and when he returns from Tommy John surgery.
Mattingly said the team was built on the premise of being able to pitch and play solid defense, which has put the Dodgers in the pennant race heading into August.
"If that doesn't hold up, all the offense in the world usually is not enough," he said.
Dodgers designate veteran Abreu for assignment
LOS ANGELES -- To make room for newly acquired Shane Victorino, the Dodgers designated veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu for assignment on Wednesday.
Abreu batted .251 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 70 games with the Dodgers after being signed as a free agent on May 4. Manager Don Mattingly said it was a tough decision that was needed to be made with Abreu's opportunities to play at a minimum moving forward.
"Bobby came at a time when we had some guys hurt and he did a great job for us," Mattingly said. "He was good with the young players talking to them about hitting."
Abreu was unavailable for comment, but Mattingly said the 17-year-veteran understood the decision. Mattingly added there is a chance Abreu could come back when rosters are expanded if he doesn't get claimed by another team.
"To me, he's always been class in the way he handles himself," Mattingly said.
Abreu started seven games and appeared in 15 of the team's 18 games since the All-Star break, often either being taken out for a defensive replacement or coming in as a pinch-hitter late in games.
It was just earlier this month when Abreu was joined in the outfield by Scott Van Slyke, Elian Herrera, Tony Gwynn and Jerry Hairston during a four-game series against the D-backs. Now, Los Angeles boasts three outfielders -- Victorino, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier -- who own six All-Star appearances, six Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.
"Shane changes the dynamic of the outfield from the standpoint that there is really no more double switching," Mattingly said. "There's really no platoon unless somebody is banged up or hurt."
Mattingly said Gwynn has been part of the team's talks the past few days about what roster moves to make and how to reshuffle the outfield. He also said on Tuesday that Juan Rivera will move to a full-time platoon at first base with James Loney instead of alternating positions.
Infielder Justin Sellers went 1-for-3 with a double at Class A Rancho Cucamonga as the designated hitter Tuesday night in his return to action. Sellers, out since May 23, is on the 60-day disabled list with a bulging disk in his lower back. Manager Don Mattingly said the infielder will be playing rehab games for a while because he has been out for so long.
Infielder Adam Kennedy was scheduled to start a rehab game with Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night. The veteran hit the disabled list on July 25 with a strained right groin.
Right-hander Matt Guerrier is hopeful he will be going to Arizona next week, when the Dodgers hit the road, to pitch some simulated games, barring any setbacks. The reliever, who has been out since April 19 with right elbow tendinitis, would then be able to start throwing rehab innings in the Minors if all goes well.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.