Dodgers notes: Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Paco Rodriguez

Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

An emptying out of the notebook of remaining news items from Wednesday and Thursday, including news on three Dodgers outfielders.

LOS ANGELES -- Catching up on Dodgers-related news from the last few days, including some leftover notebook items from Wednesday's winter development program.

  • Matt Kemp, who had surgeries on his ankle and shoulder this offseason, has started to hit and has been out of a walking boot for three to four weeks, general manager Ned Colletti said on Wednesday. "We're not rushing it, We're going to take it as deliberately and cautiously as possible," Colletti said. "As of now we expect him to be ready to be playing by the time we're in the midst of spring training."

  • Of the other post-surgery Dodgers, Colletti estimated that Josh Beckett, who had a right rib removed to relieve pressure on his nerves caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, would be ready to pitch once camp opens. Colletti also pegged Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery) to return in June, with Scott Elbert (Tommy John surgery) back in July.

  • Yasiel Puig's has given up driving for now, having his cousin drive him around, said Stan Kasten in an aforementioned interview with ESPN 710 radio in Los Angeles. Colletti on Wednesday also addressed Puig's reckless driving charge from December.

    "I see a lot of different sides of it. I don't condone what he's done. Since the offseason's began, he has spent a lot of time in LA, and he's really spent a lot of time with kids, in neighborhoods. I looked out my window one night and there was 50 little leaguers on the field, and there he is. And it was his idea," Colletti said. "He's setting this great example and he's doing stuff that I haven't really seen many big league players do. At the same time, there's boundaries you have to stay in. It's part of growing up and part of being responsible."

  • Colletti said he would "absolutely" be comfortable starting the season with all four outfielders - Kemp, Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford - on the roster. When asked about the trade rumors involving the quartet during the offseason, Colletti said he was just listening as part of his job. "It was going to have to be something that we said, 'Whoa, we can't hang this call up.' It never happened," Colletti said.

  • Paco Rodriguez was left off the NLCS roster in 2013 after a 5.68 ERA and three home runs allowed in September, followed by allowing six of eight batters to reach base in the NLDS against the Braves. But even with six other relievers on major league contracts, the prospects for the southpaw Rodriguez to make the opening day roster remain strong.

    "I thought Paco pitched great last year, and he got tired at the end. He was one of our key guys through the course of the season. We asked a lot of him, he was in a lot of games, he got up a lot. I thought he did great," Colletti said. "Particularly in this division you need a lot of left-handed pitching as possible including the pen, I'd say he's got a great chance to be with us once we start playing in Australia. He had a great year."

  • The Dodgers added a pair of promotional dates to the 2014 schedule on Thursday. The first 15,000 kids aged 14 and under on June 29 against the Cardinals will receive an Adrian Gonzalez replica jersey. On August 29 against the Mets, the first 40,000 in attendance will receive a Matt Kemp figurine.

  • Fan voting for the bobblehead giveaway on June 26 against the Cardinals runs through January 12. Fans can make their choice through either Facebook or Twitter to pick between Crawford, A.J. Ellis, Juan Uribe or Brian Wilson.

  • Crawford will switch to uniform number three in 2014, with hitting coach Mark McGwire now wearing number 25, the number he wore throughout his playing career. Other uniform numbers of note: Alexander Guerrero will wear number seven, Jamey Wright will wear 28, and Chris Perez will wear 54, and Javy Guerra will switch to 55. Dan Haren is slated to wear number 11, a number that has been worn by Manny Mota since 1969.

  • A new rendering of the left field bullpen overlook was shared by Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider.

  • There were a couple of lighter moments on Wednesday to round out the notebook. Stacie Wheeler of Lasorda's Lair asked Colletti if the club would take a look at Todd Coffey, the former Dodgers reliever recovering from surgery and scheduled to hold a private workout for teams in January. Colletti seemed taken aback by the question and simply answered, "No, not that I'm aware." (Maybe you had to be there, but I laughed.)

  • Finally, Colletti talked about the importance of the winter development camp in introducing future major leaguers to the ins and outs of big league life — Rule 5 pick Seth Rosin estimated the program involved only 25% on-field instruction and 75% off-field — so it wouldn't be such a shock to the system once they make the majors. Colletti mentioned a story he heard from former Dodgers coach Jody Reed.

    "Jody Reed was talking about when he got called up to the Red Sox. He gets off the plane at Logan Airport and says, 'Take me to Fenway Park.' If you've ever been to Fenway Park, it's an older ballpark and it doesn't have a clear-marked entrance. He walked around the ballpark for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get in," Colletti said. "We don't want that happening here."

    Maybe it was another case of Reed getting bad advice from his agent.
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