Grandal, Kendrick start rehab stints early

Duo still expected to return for Dodgers' home opener

Grandal, Kendrick start rehab stints early

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal will begin rehab assignments Thursday, a change in plans from the simulated game manager Dave Roberts announced a day earlier.

According to Roberts, Kendrick, out with a strained left calf muscle, will play for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Grandal, out with a strained right forearm, will play for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Roberts said he still expects both players to be activated for the Dodgers' home opener Tuesday. He said Grandal was sent to Triple-A because of the higher level of pitching competition. Grandal has had fewer at-bats while healing than Kendrick because of the difference in their injuries.

Kendrick will be the designated hitter in one game, "a game at third and a couple at second" base. Grandal played in a simulated game Wednesday.

Roberts said A.J. Ellis will start Tuesday even if Grandal is activated.

Kendrick's return will be a trickier proposition for Roberts, as Chase Utley has been a catalyst filling in for Kendrick at second base and leading off.

"It is tougher with Chase," Roberts said, adding that Utley will not start against Madison Bumgarner on Saturday.

"I'll give him a blow and get Howie in there," said Roberts. "Howie will play some third. Over the course of 162 games, there are plenty of at-bats to go around. Right now I don't have the exact recipe, but it'll work itself out for sure. There are two left-handed pitchers coming up against Arizona. Once we signed Howie, we talked about there will be sacrifice from every player and they said they were in on that."

Roberts said the injury to Alex Guerrero's left knee, the nature of which the club will not detail, continues to keep the infielder off the field.

Hyun-Jin Ryu still has not thrown a simulated game, Roberts said.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.