Weaver's return could send Ely to Minors

Weaver's return could send Ely to Minors

LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Weaver (0-1, 5.06 ERA) said he feels good after he allowed two runs in a three-inning rehab start for Class A Inland Empire on Tuesday, and he should be available for manager Joe Torre out of the bullpen Friday against the Rockies.

The operative word for Torre is "reliever" -- even with the Dodgers' fifth starter spot up in the air and Vicente Padilla on the disabled list through at least the end of the month.

Padilla has been temporarily replaced by John Ely, who makes his second career start in Thursday's finale against the Brewers. But Ely is a candidate for demotion to make room for Weaver after that start, which leaves no clear candidate to take over Padilla's spot in the rotation.

Weaver, a starter for the first 11 years of his career, made seven starts in 28 appearances for the Dodgers in 2009, but Torre said Weaver is more comfortable in the 'pen.

"For me to say at this point in time where our starters are right now, that nothing is a possibility, it'd be silly for me to do that," Torre said. "At this point in time, we're not thinking [Weaver could start]."

Torre said earlier this week that the team wouldn't consider carrying an additional pitcher, with 12 already on the roster. Even if Ely pitches well on Thursday, it may not be enough to keep him with the big league team, Torre said.

"If he goes out there and gives us a chance to win, we'll see what we see," Torre said. "We are up against the situation now -- with Weaver coming back, we're going to have to make a move. Even though he pitches well, he still could be one of the guys that won't be here. He knew that when he got here."