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Matt Kemp on his injuries, 2014 expectations

LOS ANGELES -- After opening in Sydney and San Diego, the Dodgers finally get to open at home Friday when they take on the Giants.

It will be the third start in five games for Hyun-Jin Ryu, something the Dodgers were reluctant to let Clayton Kershaw do because of workload concerns. Now Kershaw is on the disabled list and Ryu will accomplish the rare feat, having healed from a split toenail suffered in his first start in Australia.

The Dodgers come home having four wins on a five-game, two-hemisphere trip that lasted 18 days. It took its toll with the injuries to Kershaw and Brian Wilson, but the Dodgers feel somewhat comforted by a roster that hoarded veteran pitchers like Dan Haren, Paul Maholm and Chris Perez to step in.

Ryu (1-0) has fired 12 scoreless innings so far, having inherited Kershaw's ace role. He went 2-2 with a 2.48 in five starts against the Giants last year.

The Dodgers were expected to enjoy the return of Matt Kemp. Kemp was activated from the disabled list before the opener, but he was not in the starting lineup against the Giants.

The Dodgers saw the middle of their batting order stir to life in Wednesday night's 5-1 win over the Padres.

Coming into the game, Hanley Ramirez was hitting .067, Adrian Gonzalez .077 and Andre Ethier .133. Ramirez doubled in two runs, scored twice, walked and stole a base; Gonzalez singled in a run; and Ethier went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

"If our biggest problem is Hanley, Adrian and Andre, we're going to be fine," said manager Don Mattingly. "They're going to hit. Their record shows, everything they did their whole career tells you that. I'm not really concerned. I'll take my chances. I feel those guys will come through."

Also coming through at the bottom of the order is second baseman Dee Gordon, who drove in a run for the second consecutive game. He's hitting .385.

"Yesterday he had a quality at-bat and a big hit," said Mattingly on Wednesday. "Today another. Dee looks like he seems more comfortable. We talked about it in Spring Training, He has to learn who he is, the kind of player he is, and we're seeing that. He just can't hit the ball in the air. He looks good, and at second base he's making plays."

Mattingly complimented outfielders Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford for cutting off balls in the gaps.

"Those go unseen in a game like this, but they matter," he said.

The Dodgers could see an ever-shifting Giants lineup.

Brandon Hicks, who received one plate appearance in the first three games, will receive a start somewhere in the infield on Friday against the lefty Ryu, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hicks is a non-roster invitee who hit .348 in 24 exhibition games to make the team.

Gregor Blanco likely will start at least one of the three games, resting either left fielder Michael Morse or center fielder Angel Pagan.

Catcher Buster Posey also could receive a one-game break, depending on how grueling the games are.

One Giant who won't rest is right fielder Hunter Pence, who went 0-for-12 in the season's first three games. Bochy plans on sticking with Pence, who played all 162 games last year.

"I don't know if he's capable of getting down on himself," Bochy said of Pence. "He's all about the team. I don't think this guy needs reassurance. He'll come around."

Giants: Adrianza making his mark
Rookie infielder Ehire Adrianza, who has played primarily shortstop as a professional, started at second base Wednesday and Thursday. It probably won't be the last time.

Adrianza committed an eighth-inning error Wednesday when he couldn't hold onto Cliff Pennington's leadoff line drive. But anybody who has seen Adrianza perform knew that was an aberration. Adrianza established himself long ago as a sure-handed defender, as well as a rangy one.

The switch-hitting 24-year-old formerly was a hitter whose bat would get knocked out of his hands. No longer. Adrianza's pinch-hit double was a key moment in the Giants' four-run, seventh-inning rally on Opening Night.

"He's a good athlete," Bochy said. "He can play anywhere in the infield and he has made a lot of progress with the bat. He can run or put a bunt down for you. Overall, he's a good athlete. He really made a lot of progress the last couple of years."

Dodgers: Rotation gets juggled
Maholm and Zack Greinke will start Saturday and Sunday for the Dodgers, while rehabbing right-hander Josh Beckett will pitch in a Minor League game Friday.

Maholm was signed to be insurance if fifth starter Beckett wasn't fully healed from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Beckett's recovery, however, was complicated by a bruised right hand suffered in the clubhouse in Spring Training. This will be Maholm's first start of the season.

Beckett will pitch for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Greinke, who pitched five innings for a win Tuesday, will be pitching on normal rest.

Worth noting
• When Puig was ruled safe at first base after bunting in the first inning Wednesday night, Padres manager Bud Black tried to challenge the call by umpire Sean Barber, but was told he waited too long to make the challenge. The umpires, however, were not able to tell him exactly how long he has to make a challenge.

• Dodgers pitching prospect Ross Stripling underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on Wednesday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Stripling will be out 12-18 months. He was injured during Spring Training.

• Brandon Belt homered in each of the first two games -- the first Giants hitter to do so since Ray Durham and Benito Santiago accomplished the feat in 2003.

• Each of the Giants' first three games were decided by two runs or fewer. Last year, they were 28-28 in one-run games and 17-12 in two-run affairs. Comments