CHICAGO -- Disabled outfielder Andre Ethier will begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque in Memphis on Friday night, manager Joe Torre said on Thursday, with Ethier's return to the Dodgers targeted for early next week.
"He'll play there Friday and Saturday, maybe take Sunday off and be available in the early part of the week," Torre said of Ethier, who broke the first knuckle on the little finger of his right hand during batting practice almost two weeks ago.
"It's open if he feels he needs more. We have to make sure we get him back with no hesitation. Whether he goes 0-for-10 or 5-for-10, whatever he feels he can do. He seems to have no issue here taking batting practice outside. When he's finished, it's a little achy, but it didn't hold him back at all. And with the splint, he's in no danger of hurting that spot."
Dodgers summon Miller, designate Ortiz
CHICAGO -- The Dodgers purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Justin Miller from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday and designated for assignment reliever Ramon Ortiz.
Despite the move, the Dodgers remain a pitcher short. Manager Joe Torre said another move is likely, probably a swing man, and he indicated it wouldn't be made until after the club sees what its latest fifth-starter candidate, Carlos Monasterios, does in Colorado on Friday night.
That could mean left-hander Scott Elbert is under consideration. He starts for Albuquerque on Friday. Charlie Haeger has a rehab start for Class A Inland Empire on Saturday, and Torre said, "my guess is he'll join us shortly."
Torre said he would use the durable Miller to pitch out of a jam during an inning or for multiple frames.
"He can pitch every day. I saw him do that with the Giants last year," said Torre. "In Spring Training, we knew we couldn't take him, even though you want on your staff someone with durability."
Miller, 32, is known as the "Human Tattoo," because his body is covered with them, and he's spent parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues with Toronto, Florida and San Francisco.
The Dodgers have 10 days to either trade, release or get Ortiz through waivers to send him to the Minor Leagues. He can refuse such an assignment, and said he would first talk to his agent before committing.
"I'm happy for the opportunity they gave me to start and relieve," said Ortiz. "I try to do my best. That's baseball. It's only two months, but I don't put excuses. I know I'll be fine."
Ortiz was 1-2 with a 6.30 ERA. Miller, coming off shoulder surgery last season, was 0-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 18 games with Albuquerque.
"Any time you get called up, it's a surprise," Miller said. "But I've been doing this long enough to know that you just go down and battle and control what you can control and put yourself in the best position, so when they need someone for it to be you."
Meanwhile, George Sherrill seems to be making a miraculous recovery. Two days after going on the disabled list with middle back stiffness, he was able to throw a bullpen session. He's likely to continue the sessions, then go out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
Under the weather, Johnson perseveres
CHICAGO -- Dodgers outfielder Reed Johnson went 1-for-4 with an RBI double on Wednesday night, nothing spectacular until you consider that just before game time he was hooked up to an IV after becoming dehydrated with flu symptoms that sent his wife and 7-month-old child to a local hospital.
"I threw up a couple times before the game and that made me feel better," said Johnson, a former Cub making his Wrigley Field return. "And the IV got some fluids in me, but I was a little woozy my first two at-bats -- [a comebacker and a strikeout].
"But I started to feel better as the game went on. Then I had a horrible headache overnight and figured if it didn't go away, today wasn't going to be pretty. But it went away, and I finally had a little bit to eat this morning and I'm feeling a lot better."
Johnson said his wife and child were released from the hospital on Thursday morning and flew home.
New ring found in solar system -- Torre's ring
CHICAGO -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who received a rare phone call from his buddies aboard the International Space Station last week, received a rare photo on Thursday.
Astronaut Garrett Reisman e-mailed Torre a photo of the manager's 2000 World Series ring floating in weightlessness aboard the Space Station. Torre sent the ring, along with Dodgers jerseys of his and coach Don Mattingly, for the final flight of the space shuttle Atlantis, which returned to Earth on Wednesday.
Torre met Reisman in Las Vegas, and last year was given a tour of NASA's Johnson Space Center while the Dodgers were in Houston.
Last week, Torre's cell phone rang at his Dodger Stadium clubhouse office and it was Reisman, having routed the call through the Johnson Space Center.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.