Van Slyke's recovery ahead of schedule

Dodgers believe slugger may be ready for rehab assignment within week

Van Slyke's recovery ahead of schedule

LOS ANGELES -- A slow rehab for Scott Van Slyke (back) has accelerated to the point where he could start a rehab assignment as soon as this week.

Van Slyke resumed baseball activities last week, and he took batting practice and threw on the field at Dodger Stadium before Sunday's game. His progress has been much quicker than the team anticipated earlier in May.

"I was pleasantly surprised by how the ball was coming off his bat," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He's moving around really well, taking balls off the bat and the way he was swinging. I think later this week is realistic now, I really do."

It still hasn't been determined where Van Slyke will take his rehab assignment, but it's worth noting that both Alex Guerrero (knee) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) are currently rehabbing at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.

Since hitting the disabled list in the team's first homestand with a lower back injury, Van Slyke has remained in the Dodgers' clubhouse during homestands.

Van Slyke's return would bolster the right-handed-hitting depth for the Dodgers, especially at first base, where the team has been forced to get creative when giving Adrian Gonzalez the day off. Catcher Yasmani Grandal and second baseman Howie Kendrick have received starts at the position in Van Slyke's absence.

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.