Mattingly clarifies his frustration with Puig

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly met with Yasiel Puig Tuesday to clear the air over comments Mattingly made about Puig's injuries following Sunday's win in Australia.

"We're good. I've got no issues with Yasiel," Mattingly said during the club's Dodger Stadium workout, which Puig missed to receive treatment for lower back inflammation after an MRI revealed no structural damage. He is expected back on the field Wednesday.

Mattingly said his postgame comments were more the result of his frustration with the Dodgers nearly blowing a seven-run lead than Puig's conduct. He said pregame comments about Puig's theatrics when he swings and misses and appears injured -- likening him to the boy who cried wolf -- were unfairly "pushed" by reporters into his postgame comments about the latest Puig injury.

"I know Yasiel is a huge lightning rod, and anything I say is a huge story and anything he does is a huge story," Mattingly said. "Maybe I should have been more clear -- the before and after were two different things."

Mattingly said Puig told him the back tightness improved Tuesday, but trainers decided to hold him out of the workout. He said Puig would return to the field Wednesday when the Dodgers will play a simulated game.

Mattingly did not, however, back away from critical comments about sloppy play and ineffective relief in Sunday's win.

"It was general frustration over that game," he said. "It's a win, we'll take it, but the guys got to know we can't play like that and expect to win anything. I want the team to know that."

Ryu's injured toenail jumbles pitching plans

LAD@ARI: Ryu strong in five shutout innings

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu's injured toenail has jumbled the Dodgers' pitching plans, manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday.

Clayton Kershaw is likely to start Sunday night in San Diego and Zack Greinke is scheduled for Tuesday night, but Ryu is uncertain for Wednesday after partially tearing the nail off the big toe of his right (landing) foot when given a late stop sign by third-base coach Lorenzo Bundy in Australia on Sunday.

Ryu played light catch during the Dodgers' workout on Tuesday, but didn't participate in fielding practice. He was scheduled to see a podiatrist later in the day. Ryu's spot would likely be taken by Dan Haren or Paul Maholm.

"Yeah, I'm concerned," Mattingly said. "It's not a long-term thing, but it could set us back and make us change the rotation we've been talking about."

Haren, who had not yet rejoined the club from Arizona, is scheduled to pitch in one of the games against the Angels this week.

Greinke will start against the Angels on Thursday, so a start Tuesday night would be on normal rest. He said his right calf strain is 100 percent healed so he can push off properly, but his pitch count is not where he would normally be (100) for a first regular-season start.

Greinke said he made 72 pitches in his last start Sunday, and while he was pleased with location and crispness, the last five or 10 were "pretty ugly."

Meanwhile, Josh Beckett said his bruised right thumb had improved enough to allow curveballs in his most recent Minor League start, and a few cutters in the bullpen afterward, but his pitch count is built up only into the 50s. He is scheduled to pitch in Wednesday's simulated game.

"I think we're on a good track," Beckett said. "It still gets a little sore, but it's definitely getting better."

Beckett is on the disabled list, and his fifth-starter spot doesn't come up until mid-April.

Kemp could be activated next week

Matt Kemp on his injuries, 2014 expectations

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp could be activated as soon as next week, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday.

Mattingly said it was a possibility that Kemp, on the disabled list recovering from left ankle and shoulder operations, might not need a further Minor League rehabilitation assignment and that he could be activated when he's eligible on April 4.

"We'll see, it's up to medical," Mattingly said. "He's had a ton of at-bats. I'm sure he's feeling the timing is pretty good. It's really left up to how he's feeling. He's had no setbacks. He's up to six innings [per game]. He's getting his self there with the amount of time he's playing."

Kemp will continue playing in Minor League games this week, because being on the disabled list, he's ineligible to play in the exhibition games against the Angels.

The Dodgers will play a simulated game at Dodger Stadium, on Wednesday. Mattingly said it will last four or five innings, and it is mostly being held to keep the relievers sharp. He said his regulars will average three or four at-bats in the first two Freeway Series games Thursday and Friday, but they will back off in Saturday night's game because the season resumes Sunday night in San Diego.

Zack Greinke, who pitches Thursday night, said he expects to be stretched to around 90 pitches.

Crawford returns, Guerrero sent down

Carl Crawford talks about Don Mattingly, his health

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers activated outfielder Carl Crawford off the paternity list Tuesday and optioned infielder Alex Guerrero to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Crawford and his fiancee had a baby boy. He missed last week's season-opening trip to Australia.

Guerrero, signed to a four-year, $28 million contract, will continue his conversion from shortstop to second base in the Minors after being beaten out for a Major League spot by Dee Gordon.