Crawford, Kemp could serve as designated hitters

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, on the mend from surgeries and taking it slow early on in camp, could see game action as designated hitters later this week, manager Don Mattingly indicated on Monday.

"We've been talking around the first [of March on Friday] for those guys," said Mattingly, who threw batting practice to Crawford's hitting group prior to the Cactus League game against the Cubs.

Kemp, coming off October shoulder labrum surgery, has been hitting for several weeks longer than Crawford, who is coming off Tommy John elbow surgery last August.

Mattingly said he will continue giving Juan Uribe playing time at first base, where he started on Monday for the first time in his career. Mattingly hinted that Uribe's defensive versatility makes him valuable enough to keep on the Opening Day roster, even though Uribe lost the starting third-base job because his offensive production collapsed.

"We're on fact-finding with extra time in camp," Mattingly said. "I expect him to be pretty good. His hands work. He always has a good feel for the game and timing. I expect he'll be able to do this."

Mattingly said Uribe needs to work on balls hit to his right, knowing when to go after the grounders and when to cover first and let the second baseman field the ball. Uribe said he's fine with the assignment.

"When you play shortstop, you can play wherever," Uribe said. "I don't think I'll have too many problems. I believe in myself. I know I can do it. What happened last year, I forgot. This is a new year and I hope I can do better to help the team win games. I'm happy to be here. A lot of people want to be here."