ST. LOUIS -- Reliever Scott Elbert has a sore left shoulder that could send him to the disabled list, which would allow the Dodgers to recall Stephen Fife to start Friday night's opener against the Giants.
Elbert has been dealing with discomfort for several weeks and walked the only batter he faced Wednesday night. His locker in the visiting clubhouse was cleared out after Thursday's 7-4 loss.
Elbert's uncertain soundness was one reason the Dodgers had left-handed reliever Randy Choate included in the Hanley Ramirez trade. It also would explain why the club recalled reliever Shawn Tolleson on Thursday, one day after sending him down to make room for Choate.
To get Ramirez and Choate, the Dodgers parted with Nathan Eovaldi, who was scheduled to start Friday night against the Giants.
Fife was sent down less than 10 days ago, which would make him ineligible to be recalled, unless he is replacing an injured player. In his only Major League start, he out-pitched Roy Halladay in a no-decision.
Manager Don Mattingly still wouldn't say who would start Friday night, but saying only that it would be someone from within the organization. He said having someone making his second Major League start (as Fife would be doing) against Matt Cain, who threw a perfect game earlier this season, is not exactly ideal, but he can live with it in the big picture.
"I guess I could really worry at this point. We got a different issue, right?" Mattingly said. "We had a big issue [with our offense] and finally got it cleared up [with the Hanley Ramirez acquisition]. The cost was that starter, but [Eovaldi] didn't fare too well there last time."
On June 25 at AT&T Park, Eovaldi allowed the Giants eight runs over five frames in the Dodgers' 8-0 loss.
"This is probably not the best-case scenario," said Mattingly. "I still feel in the long run we're better off. This start, maybe not -- or maybe. There's a give and get, and [Eovaldi] was the price."
Hanley starts at third but will see time at shortstop
ST. LOUIS -- Hanley Ramirez started at third base again for the Dodgers on Thursday, but manager Don Mattingly said the newcomer's move to his original position of shortstop is still a definite.
"We talked this morning," Mattingly said of Ramirez. "I don't have a time frame when. For me, I know it sounds easy to just move over there, but the guy spent all spring playing nothing but third base, working his butt off. It sounds easy, like on every Little League field you just slip back over there. But you don't want to go out and embarrass yourself."
Mattingly has quickly become known as a player's manager for taking positions like this, but he insisted he's not concerned about Ramirez's willingness to help the club as the club sees fit.
"Before the acquisition of Hanley, [general manager] Ned [Colletti] did a lot of talking to make sure he's comfortable at either spot," Mattingly said. "If he said, 'Absolutely not, I don't want to be in L.A. and don't want to play there,' he wouldn't be here right now. We had to get a commitment from him. We were making a big commitment to him."
Mattingly said once Ramirez moves to shortstop, he will stay there at least until Dee Gordon returns from the disabled list in mid-August. Mattingly has left open whether Ramirez at that time will remain at shortstop or move to third base, but the skipper has said he won't move Ramirez back and forth between the two positions.
The reason Mattingly wants Ramirez at shortstop now is that the Dodgers have more players capable of playing third base (Jerry Hairston, Luis Cruz, Juan Uribe and Ramirez) than players capable of playing shortstop (Hairston, Cruz and Ramirez), so he can mix and match at third more easily.
Kennedy lands on DL; Tolleson recalled
ST. LOUIS -- The Dodgers placed infielder Adam Kennedy on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin and replaced him on the roster by recalling reliever Shawn Tolleson from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday.
The move is a curious one, because Tolleson was sent back to Albuquerque on Wednesday to make room on the roster for the acquisition of Randy Choate and Tolleson hadn't even reached Albuquerque on Thursday. He was turned around in Dallas and wasn't in St. Louis for the start of Thursday's game.
The Dodgers could have just disabled Kennedy on Wednesday to make room for Choate without sending Tolleson on his useless journey. No explanation was given for why they did not, as the move was announced just before game time.
Apparently, the roster manipulation is related to whoever the Dodgers will come up with to start Friday night's game in San Francisco. The most logical candidate would be Stephen Fife, but he will be one day short of the mandatory 10-day period to remain in the Minor Leagues after being sent down July 18.
The only way he can start Friday is if he replaces an injured player, so the Dodgers might find one.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.