The Dodgers are optimistic Yasiel Puig won't return to the disabled list. An MRI examination Wednesday morning revealed what Manager Don Mattingly described as a "very mild" strain of the outfielder's right hamstring.
"This is pretty good news today, it seems like," Mattingly said.
The injury is "way less" severe than the left hamstring strain that landed Puig on the disabled list for five weeks earlier in the season, Mattingly said.
That's what Puig thought would be the case when he was injured the previous night running out an infield single.
"This one didn't hurt like the other one," he said.
Puig is expected to test his hamstring Friday, when the Dodgers open a three-game series in Houston against the Astros. Based on what he was told by trainer Stan Conte, Mattingly said, "I had the feeling that Yasiel was going to play in Houston, at some point."
The designated-hitter rule will be in effect in the series against the Astros.
With Puig unavailable to play Wednesday in the Dodgers' 5-2 defeat to the Oakland Athletics, Andre Ethier started in his place in right field. Carl Crawford was in left.
Before the game, bullpen coach Chuck Crim called an on-field meeting with the team's relievers.
About the only pitcher it seemed to help was Chris Hatcher, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Alex Wood.
The shaky bullpen had another meltdown in the eighth inning, which the Dodgers entered trailing, 3-2. Jim Johnson loaded the bases by allowing the first three batters to reach base. He struck out Danny Valencia, after which he was replaced by left-hander Luis Avilan.
Avilan gave up a sacrifice fly to left-handed-hitting pinch-hitter Steven Vogt that drove in Eric Sogard to extend the A's lead to 4-2. Pedro Baez entered the game and promptly served up a run-scoring double to Jake Smolinski. The Dodgers were down, 5-2.
The previous night, the bullpen inherited a 4-1 lead from Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Dodgers lost, 5-4, in 10 innings.
Rollins heating up
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins recalled how when he used to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, bench coach Larry Bowa used to call him a "red-light player."
"It's that red-light time of the year," Rollins said. In other words, crunch time.
Rollins, 36, hit his 12th home run of the season in the third inning. The home run was his fourth in his last 24 games, a period over which he is batting .298. He is batting .225 on the season.
"Before the All-Star break, things were coming together," he said. "After the first 20 at-bats or so since the All-Star break, the results have started to show."