Dodgers offense enjoys encouraging Sunday

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kemp had his first two hits and his first RBI, Carl Crawford returned to outdoor batting practice and even Juan Uribe got into the act with a homer as the Dodgers' offense had a good Sunday.

Kemp, 0-for-11 with five strikeouts coming into the 6-1 win over the Rockies, had a pair of hits, a walk, drove in a run and scored once.

No, he didn't ask to keep the ball after to mark the occasion of his first-inning single.

"I should have," joked Kemp, on the rebound from shoulder surgery. "I was better. Not all the way where I need to be, but it was better. My rhythm was better. I'm not panicking at all. This is how Spring Training is for everybody the first three or four games. Most guys feel weird."

Kemp also said his return to play the field has helped his rhythm, while the adrenaline fueled by a sellout crowd of 12,287 at Salt River Fields made Saturday's exhibition "more game-like."

Crawford isn't ready for games, but he's headed in the right direction. He advanced to taking batting practice outdoors Saturday instead of in the cage. He's still not ready to throw, as trainers are easing him back after a nerve flareup of his surgically repaired elbow.

"Everything went good today," Crawford said. "Pretty much every day it's been another step. I'll probably do this for the next couple days. They want me to get my hitting going before I start throwing, and so far, no problems."

Uribe, meanwhile, continues his spring of answering critics who can't understand why he's still on the club. He's been a quick study at first base, as a 3-6-3 double-play showed, and he's making progress in breaking two years of bad habits with his swing.

"I'm thinking up the middle and right field now," said Uribe, who got pull-happy last season after signing with the Dodgers. "That's what I did before with the Giants. When I think the middle, I let the pitch come in deeper to me. I pull the homer, but last year, I probably hit that ball foul."

Uribe now projects as the backup corner infielder behind Adrian Gonzalez at first base, Luis Cruz at third and a right-handed pinch-hitter.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.