© 2011 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

03/12/11 6:58 PM ET

Nimura unable to reach relative in Japan

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Team interpreter Kenji Nimura said that his family has been unable to reach a relative living in Japan north of the area hit by Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Nimura said that attempts to reach the mother of his brother-in-law have been unsuccessful as of Saturday.

"We're just hoping for the best," Nimura said.

Nimura -- fluent in English, Japanese and Spanish -- serves primarily as the interpreter for starter Hiroki Kuroda, but he also assists Spanish-speaking players and gives English lessons to several players, including top young pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa.

Kuroda confirmed that his family in Japan is safe.

Link gets work after recovering from sickness

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Jon Link returned for a full day of workouts and a bullpen session Saturday, down 13 pounds from when he reported because of physical ailments.

Link became dehydrated March 2 when he pitched two-thirds of an inning against Kansas City, returned to pitch two innings on March 6 against the Cubs, then went down with the flu and hasn't pitched since.

"Dehydration was the worst," said Link. "I was seeing black spots. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I just didn't drink enough that day."

Link is being transitioned to starting after being a closer in the White Sox organization. Last year he was a reliever, splitting time between Triple-A Albuquerque and six stints with the Dodgers.

Non-roster right-hander Lance Cormier, who missed several days with the flu, also had his first bullpen session since returning to the field.

And Juan Castro, out two days for the birth of his second child, returned to the field.

Kuo shows off changeup in BP session

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reliever Hong-Chih Kuo threw an impressive 31-pitch batting-practice session that included a devastating changeup and is aiming for his next game appearance Tuesday.

Kuo, on an amended game schedule to protect his brittle elbow, came out of the workout pleased and healthy.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said Kuo has been working on a changeup for years but has used it sparingly in games so far. It would be a nasty complement to his fastball and hard slider, said Honeycutt.

Kuo pitched only two game innings last spring before coming up with a sore elbow. He made his first game appearance Wednesday.

Kershaw unaffected by split fingernail

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw, who has a split nail of the middle finger on his pitching hand, made his regular bullpen session Saturday and dismissed it as a non-issue.

"I get this all the time," said Kershaw, who threw all of his pitches in the session and impressed catcher Dioner Navarro. "It's nothing. Hiro [Hiroki Kuroda] has all the tools to take care of it."

Kershaw has made three spring starts and hasn't allowed an earned run in 11 1/3 innings. He is scheduled to start again Tuesday.

Left-handed side of left-field platoon a question

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Marcus Thames is hitting .333 this spring, for now validating his role as the right-handed part of a left-field platoon for the Dodgers.

The left-handed part, however, is not going as expected.

Jay Gibbons, the presumed front-runner after his solid finish to the 2010 season, is 1-for-20 after going 0-for-3 against the Giants on Saturday, and admittedly is pressing with a .050 batting average. His spring was interrupted by a bad case of the flu.

Meanwhile, Tony Gwynn, who hit only .204 last year for San Diego and was presumably signed for his defense, went 3-for-3 against the Giants to raise his average to .360.

Gibbons revived his career last year, working his way out of the Minor Leagues and slugging five homers in only 75 at-bats when given playing time after Manny Ramirez moved on.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.