The Dodgers plan to again start rookie right-hander John Ely on Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers, Manager Joe Torre said Sunday.
After Hiroki Kuroda's dominant win Sunday, the Dodgers are off Monday before opening a three-game series with Milwaukee on Tuesday with left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Right-hander Chad Billingsley will pitch on Wednesday.
But with opening-day starter Vicente Padilla injured and the season's initial fifth starter, Charlie Haeger, ineffective lately, the main candidates to start Thursday had come down to Ely and another rookie, Carlos Monasterios, who threw four innings in his first major league start Saturday.
Ely, 26, made his big league debut last Wednesday against the Mets at a gusty Citi Field in New York, when he gave up five earned runs in six innings in the Dodgers' 7-3 loss.
Asked whether Haeger, a knuckleballer, was no longer an option as the fifth starter, Torre said: "We haven't totally ruled that out. He struggled somewhat, but we've asked him to do a lot, too. We're still talking about it."
Haeger is 0-3 with a 7.45 earned-run average after getting roughed up lately, including last Tuesday when he gave up five earned runs in four innings against the Mets.
Torre said Haeger's knuckleball wasn't the main problem. "He just needs to command his fastball better," Torre said. "When he's trying to get a strike … he's missing with the fastball. It's not a good situation for him."
Haeger, 26, also remains valuable as a long reliever, especially in extra-inning games, Torre said. "If you have some innings to fill, he's available to do it."
As for Padilla, a right-hander who went on the disabled list with soreness in his throwing forearm, "he's better, feeling better, but not having thrown for a while, I don't see him helping us this month," Torre said.
Padilla has "a lot of work to do to get back on the mound at this level, so my guess is the end of the month, early next month, if he continues feeling better," he said.
Slugger Manny Ramirez and reliever Jeff Weaver, both preparing to come off the disabled list at the end of this week, will play a rehabilitation game Tuesday in San Bernardino with the Dodgers' Class-A Inland Empire 66ers, Torre said.
Weaver, sidelined with a low back strain, is scheduled to "throw 45 pitches as a starter and then have Wednesday and Thursday off," Torre said. "Then he'll be eligible for us Friday." Ramirez is recovering from a right calf strain.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal also isn't playing because of a sore left hamstring — though he's not yet on the disabled list.
"He's taking ground balls and stuff, but he hasn't been tested," Torre said. "I had a talk with him this morning and [said] it's just based on whatever we have to do, if we have to disable you we'll disable you."
By going three for four Sunday, first baseman James Loney is hitting .500 at home and .333 overall.
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