PHOENIX -- Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to be activated to start for the Dodgers on Wednesday night against the Mets, manager Don Mattingly said Sunday.
Mattingly conceded that the club will then face a "difficult" roster move to make room for Ryu, who has been on the disabled list since April 28 with left shoulder-blade inflammation. He said that Paul Maholm, who had been starting in Ryu's absence, will move to the bullpen.
Most of the current relievers -- Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell, Jamey Wright and Maholm -- have guaranteed contracts and cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues. Closer Kenley Jansen and Chris Withrow can be optioned, but that's unlikely considering their late-inning roles.
Placing a pitcher on the disabled list would be the simplest solution, and considering the usage required over the first six weeks of the season, a previously undisclosed injury wouldn't be a shock.
The Dodgers also could free up a roster spot by optioning Chone Figgins or Scott Van Slyke to the Minor Leagues. The Dodgers would still have more outfielders than they can play, but keeping 13 pitchers would weaken the bench.
Mattingly said Maholm would provide long-relief coverage as well as serve as a second bullpen lefty to Howell.
"We've had enough games, not just like last night [6 1/3 innings of relief], but extra-inning games you get into where it would have been nice to have a guy, OK, give him four or five innings and not have to patch together and know you're out of pitchers in the 11th," Mattingly said.
Dodgers rotate Kemp out, Ethier into Sunday lineup
PHOENIX -- Asked if an excess of big-name outfielders was a luxury, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly laughed nervously.
"It's been a different luxury. Not a fun luxury," said Mattingly, who left Matt Kemp out of Sunday's starting lineup a day after Kemp went 2-for-5. "Somebody is always not happy."
Undoubtedly on Sunday that was Kemp, although Mattingly spun the lingering unrest in the best light possible.
"From a team standpoint, it's kind of worked," he said. "We're getting good production, close to 90 RBIs from our outfield. Individually, I'm sure they don't feel that. I know that they all don't necessarily like it."
Mattingly has previously said Yasiel Puig has taken the right-field job. He's said something similar about Kemp in center field, although not as firmly. And he's been clear that neither Carl Crawford nor Andre Ethier has done enough to win the left-field job outright.
"Yasiel has separated himself from the pack," Mattingly said. "I could have [Scott] Van Slyke arguing he should play more. I'd like somebody to separate, but you look at the numbers, and they haven't."
Ethier started in center field Sunday, with Crawford in left.
Crawford has hit safely in 10 of 11 games, batting .447 (17-for-38) with a double, three homers and seven RBIs since May 3, raising his overall batting average from .185 to .269. Ethier is hitting .333 (14-for-42) with five doubles and six RBIs in 14 games this month. Kemp is hitting .323 (20-for-62) this month and has hit .380 (19-for-50) with seven multihit contests since May 3, raising his overall batting average from .205 to .271.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.