Idle since the first week of the season because of soreness in his lower back, Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke took batting practice on Sunday afternoon and could be ready to start a rehabilitation assignment later this week.
Manager Dave Roberts sounded upbeat about Van Slyke's progress. Last week, he indicated Van Slyke still required two more weeks of recovery before he could play in games. Now his timetable has accelerated.
"He's moving around really well," Roberts said before Sunday's series finale against St. Louis.
Van Slyke, 29, entered the season as a right-handed-hitting complement to Andre Ethier in left field, in addition to Adrian Gonzalez's backup at first base. The Dodgers are searching for a consistent solution in left field, where Carl Crawford, Howie Kendrick, Enrique Hernandez and Trayce Thompson have all received playing time.
It is unclear how the Dodgers would manipulate the roster to make room for Van Slyke. The team could option infielder Charlie Culberson to the minors. Both Hernandez and Thompson have minor league options, but Thompson has been one of the team's more productive hitters thus far. Crawford also has an extensive injury history, and his day-to-day reliability is always a question mark.