SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers starter Ted Lilly, on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation since May 24, will start a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.
Lilly is expected to pitch two innings in this initial start, but it probably will be two to three weeks before he has built up his pitch count high enough to be able to return to the Dodgers' starting rotation, as long as there are no setbacks.
"We'll build him up like it's Spring Training," said manager Don Mattingly. "He'll go two innings, depending on the number of pitches, then a bullpen to get him on a rotation and build up to the 90 [pitch] mark."
Lilly was off to one of the best starts of his career when he went down with the injury. He was 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA and was a candidate for an All-Star berth, but tried to pitch through pain in a May 23 game in Arizona and allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings before being sidelined.
Elbert to DL, but Dodgers relieved by diagnosis
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers heard good news on Scott Elbert's left elbow, as a contrast MRI revealed no serious damage, manager Don Mattingly said Friday.
Elbert was placed on the 15-day disabled list, allowing the Dodgers to recall Stephen Fife to start Friday night's game against the Giants.
Elbert dealt with elbow discomfort before the All-Star break, believed to be from a bone spur, and thought it had cleared up, but he came up sore after walking the only batter he faced Tuesday night.
"It wound up pretty good, nothing major," said Mattingly. "It looks like a 15-day thing and he'll be ready to go. He knows it's nothing, no ligament or tendon damage. Just some rubbing, causing irritation, but nothing major."
Elbert is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 39 games. Randy Choate, acquired in the Hanley Ramirez trade, effectively becomes the situational lefty. Mattingly said the club included Choate in the trade before knowing that Elbert was injured, having earlier decided a second lefty in the bullpen was needed.
Elbert's injury allowed the Dodgers to recall Fife for the Friday start, which originally was to be taken by Nathan Eovaldi, until he was dealt to Miami in the Ramirez-Choate deal.
Fife wasn't legally an option for the start, because after making a solid debut start against the Phillies and Roy Halladay on July 17, he was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque the next day. A player cannot be recalled within 10 days of an option unless he replaces an injured player. Elbert is the injured player Fife now replaces.
Dodgers looking to give Hanley lineup support
SAN FRANCISCO -- After watching Hanley Ramirez walk in three of his last five plate appearances in St. Louis, manager Don Mattingly knows that he needs to protect Ramirez in the batting order to utilize his ability.
"It was kind of nice he took the walks," Mattingly said, emphasizing the positive. "He's capable of stealing a bag. But I want to get him pitched to. We'll try to get guys behind him that can hit the pitcher that game. We'll line them up the best we can. You hope guys are all over the bases and they've got to pitch to him."
In the first game for Ramirez as a Dodger, James Loney batted behind Ramirez and went 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly that scored Ramirez.
In the second game, Juan Rivera batted behind Ramirez and went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Loney was in the lineup batting behind Ramirez Friday night against the Giants.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.