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Back in LA, Kapler focused on Phils, family

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

LOS ANGELES -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler still owns a place in Mailbu, Calif.

It takes about one hour and 15 minutes to drive from there to Dodger Stadium, on a good day with favorable traffic. It can be as short as 55 minutes in the middle of the night. But it also can take forever. And in Los Angeles, drives that take forever seem to happen a lot.

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LOS ANGELES -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler still owns a place in Mailbu, Calif.

It takes about one hour and 15 minutes to drive from there to Dodger Stadium, on a good day with favorable traffic. It can be as short as 55 minutes in the middle of the night. But it also can take forever. And in Los Angeles, drives that take forever seem to happen a lot.

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But Kapler is staying in the team hotel this week, so he won't have to worry about that drive. He spent the previous four seasons as the Dodgers' player development director, but this is a business trip.

"I remember what it was like to come to L.A. as a player," Kapler said before Monday's series opener against the Dodgers. "It's a little bit stressful, because you haven't talked to a lot of people in a really long time and they want to come hang. So I really want to devote this time, any free time that I have outside of the ballpark, to my sons, maybe my mom and my dad and work. While it's really exciting to be back here, and for any number of reasons these are going to be fun games, I also see it as multifaceted and nuanced.

"When I think about their players, I'm thinking about how our guys can get them out and vice versa. The personal stuff and the history, I can think about that at another time. The best time for me is probably November. During this time I think about this as a series that we very much want to win and gain control of."

Eickhoff to visit specialist on Tuesday
Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff will see Dr. Robert Thompson, a vascular surgeon who specializes in thoracic outlet syndrome, on Tuesday in St. Louis. Eickhoff exited a rehab start on May 20 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley after he felt tingling in his right index and middle fingers.

Eickhoff felt something similar last August. It ended his season.

"We're just trying to get to the bottom of it, more than anything else," Kapler said. "If for no other reason than to give Eick some peace of mind. In his mind, he just wants to know what's going on so he can fix it."

Crawford, Neshek updates
Shortstop J.P. Crawford will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Advanced Clearwater. Crawford has been on the 10-day disabled list since April 29 because of a strained right forearm.

Right-hander Pat Neshek will throw a bullpen session Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Neshek has been on the DL since the beginning of the season, first with a strained right shoulder and now with a strained right forearm.

Keeping Hoskins in the No. 2 spot
Rhys Hoskins entered Monday hitting .140 with two home runs, nine RBIs and a .501 OPS over his past 25 games. He has hit second or fourth in the lineup the entire time. Kapler said he has no interest in dropping Hoskins in the lineup.

"We still want -- and 'still' is not even a relevant word -- we want one of our best hitters in the two-hole," Kapler said. "Rhys is one of our best hitters. That's how we look at it every single day. Not that 100 plate appearances is not worth really digging into, I think it is. Particularly how close we looked at the first 100 plate appearances and just to be fair, if you're going to look at the first 100, you have to look at the second 100. We still think that Rhys is an excellent, one of the better offensive performers in the league and will be going forward. So for that reason, we want that profile in the two-hole."

Video: TOR@PHI: Hoskins lines an RBI double off the wall

Aces face off
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will return from the DL to pitch in Thursday's series finale at Dodger Stadium, which means he will face Phillies ace Aaron Nola.

"Kershaw, Noles, getaway day in Los Angeles, that's kind of cool," Kapler said. "I had a couple people text me, 'Hey, I'm coming to the game on Thursday.' I'm like, 'Awesome, you get to see Nola vs. Kershaw.'"

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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