LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley said he remains optimistic he can avoid Tommy John elbow surgery and expects to know by the end of October.
Billingsley spent the last five weeks of the season on the disabled list with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. He chose rest and platelet-rich plasma injections over surgery.
Billingsley has been playing catch for two weeks. He will continue his rehab in Arizona, hopes to begin throwing off a mound next week and by the end of the month should be throwing at an intensity to determine if the elbow will hold up without surgery.
If surgery is needed, he will miss the entire 2013 season.
Kemp slated for shoulder surgery
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said he will have surgery on his injured left shoulder Friday.
Kemp said Dr. Neal ElAttrache isn't sure of the extent of damage caused when he slammed into the wall at Coors Field on Aug. 27. An MRI at the time revealed a frayed labrum at the least.
Kemp said if only a cleanup is required, he would be sidelined four to six weeks. If extensive repair to the labrum is necessary, he could be down up to three months. In either case, he expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.
After missing 51 games earlier in the season with a strained left hamstring, Kemp insisted on playing through the shoulder pain and finishing out the season in the lineup.
Kemp was batting .337 at the time of the injury. Since then, he hit .214 with six home runs, 15 RBIs and 33 strikeouts in 112 at-bats.
Asked why he was determined to play through the pain, Kemp said, "Just something that needed to be done."
As for the upcoming surgery, he said, "Of course I'm nervous. I've never had surgery before."
Dodgers mulling Hanley's position for 2013
LOS ANGELES -- In the very near future, manager Don Mattingly will sit down with the members of the Dodgers' front office to discuss offseason plans, and Hanley Ramirez's name figures to come up pretty quickly.
It's not that they were disappointed with the 28-year-old, who came to the Dodgers with question marks surrounding his character and effort with the Marlins. Instead, the team needs to make an important decision where he best fits defensively and how the dominoes will fall in response.
"I think Hanley is capable of doing anything that he puts his mind to," Mattingly said. "He is a tremendous player. He's proven to be a pretty damn good guy. We haven't had any issues with Hanley hustling and playing the game."
Ramirez was a shortstop through his career before this season, but the Marlins moved him to third base after acquiring Jose Reyes. The Dodgers kept Ramirez at third for his first eight games and he didn't commit an error in the small sample of games. They switched him back to shortstop, where he committed six errors in 56 games.
Mattingly acknowledged Ramirez can be better, but added every player falls into that category heading into the offseason.
Dee Gordon, a natural shortstop, and Luis Cruz, who can play both short and third, figure to factor into the decision with Ramirez.
Gordon, who entered 2012 with high expectations placed on him, underwhelmed through the first half of the season before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb early in July.
Cruz took over at short before moving to third when Ramirez changed positions. Mattingly has already said the fan favorite and former journeyman Minor Leaguer is more than capable of being an everyday player and that his play has warranted consideration for him to enter next year as a starter.
"It's something we'll talk about in our organizational type meetings and we'll go through all that," Mattingly said.
Dodgers feeling good about end of bullpen
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is confident with his bullpen heading into the offseason despite Kenley Jansen's upcoming surgery and Brandon League's impending free agency.
Jansen is meeting with specialists next week to determine the timing of his catherer ablation and projected rehab. He is expected to be back healthy in time for Spring Training.
The 25-year-old reliever missed three weeks in August and September with the recurrence of an irregular heartbeat that required blood-thinning medication.
League was excellent in Jansen's absence and down the stretch. Entering Wednesday, he had tossed scoreless relief in 20 of his last 21 appearances with a 0.40 ERA, which will make him a desirable target in free agency.
But thanks to an expected healthy Jansen and Scott Elbert, as well as the return of Ronald Belisario, who is 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 games, the back of the bullpen isn't much of a concern for the Dodgers, even if League doesn't return.
"We are looking forward to doing different things, but nothing scares me about the back end because I know Kenley is there no matter what happens," Mattingly said.
Despite the Dodgers being eliminated from the playoff race Tuesday, Mattingly went with his everyday lineup Wedneday with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound. There was one player missing, however, as A.J. Ellis was given the day off despite wanting to play.
Ellis, who hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, was replaced by rookie Tim Federowicz since Matt Treanor strained his left side muscle during batting practice the day before.