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All-Star break means different things for different Dodgers

One team, four All-Stars.

For two of them, it’s business as usual. This is Zack Greinke’s second All-Star game, so he sat at his locker after the Dodgers’ 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres eating, not in a rush to get anywhere.

Clayton Kershaw is an All-Star for the fourth year in a row. He packed his bag like he was going on just another road trip, and exited the clubhouse without a fuss.

For the other two, though, it was a different story. Yasiel Puig got a big hug from Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, who told him to have fun. It’s Puig’s first selection, and the energetic outfielder will also be participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday.

His 12 home runs are tied for the 28th-most in the National League, but it might be a different story on Monday.

“He better do something, or people are going to talk trash,” said second baseman Dee Gordon, the other All-Star on the team. “I think he’s going to do good, though. He likes the light, he likes the spotlight on him and all that, so...

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Dodgers head into All-Star break after another 1-0 win over Padres

At portable speaker night in Los Angeles, the Dodgers’ offense went into the All-Star break quietly.

The team got another dominating starting pitching performance -- this time from Hyun-Jin Ryu -- but needed another late-inning rally to dispose of the helpless Padres, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon. Ryu went six innings, giving up only two hits while striking out 10 of the 20 Padres he faced. He didn’t allow a walk, and fanned seven of the first nine batters he faced.

In a four-game series against the Padres, Dodgers’ starting pitchers gave up five runs -- Dan Haren was on the hook for four of those.  

It helps that the Padres’ offense is statistically the worst in the league, by far. On Sunday, their starting lineup had no player batting above .250, and seven of the nine Padres were batting below .230.

Still, surrending only five runs in four games is impressive for a starting rotation, even against San Diego.

Offensively, though, the Dodgers didn’t look all that much better than the Padres...

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Dodgers promote top prospect Corey Seager to double-A Chattanooga

Corey Seager, the Dodgers' top prospect among position players, said Sunday he has been promoted to double-A Chattanooga.

Seager, 20, one of the Dodgers' two representatives at Sunday's Futures Game, batted .352 with 18 home runs in 80 games at Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He led the California League with 34 doubles, a .633 slugging percentage and a 1.044 OPS.

Seager said he would report to Chattanooga on Thursday. The Dodgers granted him permission to stay in Minnesota beyond Sunday, so he could watch his brother -- Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager -- play in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Pitcher Julio Urias, also selected for the Futures Game, ranks atop Baseball America's midseason ranking among position players. Seager is second, followed by outfielder Joc Pederson.

Pederson played in the Futures Game last season. Baseball America editor John Manuel, who helps select the Futures Game rosters, said Pederson was considered but each team is limited to two selections, except for the...

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'Magical words' earn Yasiel Puig second ejection of his career

The Dodgers had just earned the best record in the National League, so Yasiel Puig could be in a good mood after the game Saturday night.

The team wasn’t burned by his ejection in the third inning of a 1-0 win over the Padres. He joked with teammates as he dressed near his locker, slipping on a pair of Superman socks last.

Puig had been called out on strikes after two borderline calls in a row, the last of which was a pitch inside and near the knees.

At some point after the pitch, according to Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, Puig “threw the magical words out there, and that was it.”

In fact, Puig had stood in the batter’s box with his hands on his hips for 10 seconds. Home-plate umpire David Rackley began to walk away, but Puig said something that made him turn around. Puig gesticulated, spoke some more, and the umpire turned away for a second time.

Then Puig said something again, and that’s when Rackley ejected him.

Mattingly spoke with Rackley after the ejection, but the Dodgers...

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Paul Maholm rediscovers comfort zone in start for Dodgers

Of the first 243 games of Paul Maholm’s career, 242 of them were starts. Pitching every fifth day, settling into a routine — that’s his comfort zone.

And until 2014, he didn’t have to leave that zone. He was a starter, nothing more, nothing less.

But last year, with Atlanta, he went 10-11 with a 4.41 earned-run average. The Dodgers needed just $1.5 million to pick him up in the off-season, figuring he could be a jack-of-all-trades-type pitcher.

Seven of the first 10 appearances of this season were starts, but Maholm was inconsistent at best. In his last start before Saturday, he gave up 11 hits and 10 runs — five earned — in a 13-3 loss to the Miami Marlins.

Quickly, he was moved to the bullpen, where Maholm doesn’t have a defined role. Sometimes he’s pitching middle relief, sometimes he’s pitching in the ninth inning. The numbers — a 5.08 earned-run average and 24 walks in 57 innings — haven’t been good. It’s not easy going to the bullpen after being a starter your entire career.


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A.J. Ellis propels Dodgers to 1-0 win over Padres

Catcher A.J. Ellis lifted the Dodgers to a walk-off, 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, driving in Adrian Gonzalez with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The win moved the Dodgers back into first place in the NL West, half a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants. 

Closer Kenley Jansen pitched one inning of scoreless relief and earned the victory as the Dodgers improved to 28-18 against division opponents.

Gonzalez led off the ninth with a double to center field. Right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush struck out Matt Kemp and intentionally walked outfielder Andre Ethier, then third basemen Juan Uribe drew a walk to load the bases for Ellis.

Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm made his first start since May 14 and had his best outing of the season. In nine previous games (eight starts) against the Padres, Maholm had a 1-6 record and 4.56 earned-run average, but on Saturday he shut them out for six-plus innings, giving up...

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Dodgers' Don Mattingly confident in Carl Crawford's ability

The Dodgers have activated Carl Crawford from the disabled list, but it remains unclear what role he will play for a team crowded with outfielders.

Crawford injured his ankle May 27 chasing down a double off the bat of Reds outfielder Chris Heisey and returned Thursday. With Yasiel Puig entrenched as the starter in right field, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Scott Van Slyke took turns playing left and center in Crawford's absence.

Injury woes have haunted Crawford for the last few years. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in 2012, and questions have been tossed around since about his arm strength.

But Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly downplayed the importance of a powerful arm.

"How many guys do you see get thrown out on the bases?" Mattingly asked. "It’s really more about range and getting to balls, and Carl still runs really well. I think metrically he’s been pretty good in left field when he plays left, so he’s a guy that will run the ball down for you."

Mattingly said Crawford...

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Don Mattingly structures post-break rotation with eye on Giants

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly played coy before Saturday’s game about the way he will set up the rotation after the All-Star break.

He did reveal the rotation: Dan Haren will pitch the first game after the break, followed by Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu; a fifth starter has yet to be decided. But when asked why Haren would start the first game, Mattingly declined to go into detail.

“There’s a number of reasons,” Mattingly said. “I’m not going to get into the reasons why we’re doing everything.”

The reason, it appears, is to align the top of the rotation with the Giants series, the third series following the break. The way the rotation is now set up, Kershaw would pitch the Friday game of the series, followed by Greinke and Ryu.

The Giants lost their Saturday game against the Diamondbacks, meaning the Dodgers (52-43) own a half-game lead going into their night game against San Diego. The top of the Dodgers' rotation, and Kershaw in particular, have been excellent. The...

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Dodgers unlikely to add David Price or Cole Hamels, GM intimates

General Manager Ned Colletti intimated Saturday the Dodgers are unlikely to acquire a frontline pitcher such as David Price or Cole Hamels before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Colletti acknowledged he is looking for both starting and relief pitching.

While he didn’t specifically address his team’s interest in Price or Hamels, he spoke in general terms about the market for elite players.

Colletti said any deal for a top-tier player would require the Dodgers to trade prospects, adding, “probably more so than yours truly would like to part with at this particular time.”

“Based on what I know of who can be acquired, even those of upper-echelon ability that are going to require more than others, I don’t see us doing anything that’s going to tear apart the farm system,” Colletti said.

The Dodgers’ top prospects include 17-year-old left-hander Julio Urias and 20-year-old shortstop Corey Seager, who will represent the organization at the Futures Game.

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Dodgers' Justin Turner hopes to return against St. Louis next week

If everything goes according to plan, the Dodgers could have utility infielder Justin Turner back for the club’s first series after the All-Star break in St. Louis next week.

Turner has been on the disabled list since June 29 with a strained left hamstring but is making good progress. He will begin a rehab assignment as the designated hitter with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.

“Everything feels good,” Turner said before Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres. “I took a bunch of at-bats, but it’s a little different when you have a cage around you than taking actual at-bats. So we’ll see how that goes. If the timing feels good and everything, Friday looks pretty doable.”

The rehab assignment comes on the heels of a running test in Los Angeles on Saturday, the last test Turner had to pass before he could play in a game. According to Turner and Manager Don Mattingly, the test went well.

“Of course, you can’t really simulate game speed, but I felt as close to 100% as I could be,”...

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As answers elude Dan Haren, Dodgers face hole in rotation's back half

Dan Haren fiddled his thumb and cracked his knuckles restively in the Dodgers' clubhouse. Approaching the All-Star break, Haren hasn’t pitched to his expectations, and perhaps he is starting to grow restless.

The Padres, the lowest-scoring team in the league by a significant margin, tagged Haren for four runs in four innings in the Dodgers’ 6-3 loss Friday night. And with Josh Beckett out, the Dodgers' rotation is beginning to look top-heavy, like a seesaw that tilts one way.

At the top, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu are a formidable trio. After that, Beckett has been a pleasant surprise this season, but he was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a hip injury. And Haren now has a 5.73 earned-run average since the start of June.

Paul Maholm will start in Beckett’s place on Saturday.

Manager Don Mattingly said he wasn’t worried about the thin back end of the rotation. 

“We’re OK,” he said. “I have confidence in Danny, and I feel like Josh is doing well. So I’m not...

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Dodgers fall, 6-3, as Padres get to a struggling Dan Haren

It was a night of contradiction for Dan Haren. He allowed just three hits through four innings, but one of those was a home run. The Padres hit the ball hard off Haren all night, but he still managed five strikeouts.

And the inning that knocked Haren out of the game, the fifth, wasn’t all that egregious. Padres leadoff man Seth Smith reached on a single, then Chase Headley hit a ball to deep center field. Scott Van Slyke got there, but the ball bounced out of his glove as he smacked against the outfield wall. Headley strolled into second and was brought in by a Carlos Quentin double,

Just like that, Haren was out of the game, having given up four runs and failing to get out of the fifth inning.

The way the Dodgers’ offense was sputtering along in the early innings, those four runs were enough to seal a 6-3 San Diego victory.

Padres starter Jesse Hahn gave up just three hits and one run in six innings, striking out six. The Dodgers left nine men on base. Third baseman Juan Uribe went 0-...

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