As the postseason nears, the Dodgers are on a mission to ensure that their banged-up players are healthy when it matters most.
Now joining third baseman Justin Turner and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the quest for rejuvenation in the final stages of the regular season is second baseman Howie Kendrick, who returned from a hamstring injury on Sept. 19.
As he continues to experience tightness in his left hamstring, Kendrick was kept out of the lineup by manager Don Mattingly on Monday.
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"Howie's just been a little bit not quite 100 percent," Mattingly said, per MLB.com. "He's still having to play with a little bit of a governor. We'll keep trying it and moving him forward to be 100 percent, but that's one of the main factors tonight, that and a righty and with Chase [Utley] you don't really mind that."
Kendrick's hamstring strain forced him to miss 34 games, and the Dodgers certainly don't want to risk him being sidelined for an extended period again.
"It's just that he's having some tightness and [the hamstring] is not exactly where we want it. We'd rather him feel like he's good to go every day," Mattingly said. "It hasn't quite been like that. We're being a little protective. We're going to play Howie; he feels like he can go out there."
In addition to having the veteran Utley to play second base when Kendrick is being rested, utility man Kiké Hernandez, who returned from a hamstring injury of his own on Monday, can field the position as well.