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05/24/12 2:40 AM ET

Hawksworth ready for first game action

PHOENIX -- Injured Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth, who underwent two elbow operations earlier this year, will continue his comeback on Thursday when he makes his first appearance in an intrasquad game at the club's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex.

Hawksworth, who spent all of last year with the Dodgers, underwent what should have been relatively minor arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Jan. 11 to remove a bone spur and scar tissue. But a post-surgical infection developed that required a second cleansing procedure and powerful antibiotics, setting back his recovery.

The 29-year-old had a decent first season with the Dodgers after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for Ryan Theriot. He went 2-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 49 appearances, with one stint on the disabled list with a strained groin.

Hawksworth served as a middle and long reliever for the Dodgers. Because he is out of options, the club could lose him if it attempts to outright Hawksworth to the Minor Leagues.

The return of Hawksworth, or injured reliever Matt Guerrier, likely would put Todd Coffey's roster spot in jeopardy.

Pain forces Guerrier to shut down rehab

PHOENIX -- Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier, on the disabled list since April 19 with elbow tendinitis, has stalled in his rehabilitation and said the most likely course of action is to shut down completely until his pain is gone.

When a platelet-rich plasma injection failed to resolve his discomfort, Guerrier two weeks ago decided to try to pitch through it. But he was discouraged after a Wednesday bullpen session in which he said he pitched better than he felt.

"It's not responding as well as I'd like after two bullpens," said Guerrier. "It's very frustrating, so up and down and back and forth. It feels good one day, the next day I can't play catch. The turning point was a couple weeks ago, and I thought I could push through it."

Guerrier said among the options are exploratory surgery (about which he said, "I don't think any of us think that's the case."), another injection or complete rest.

"Rest is the more likely bet," he said.

Ethier given first breather of the season

PHOENIX -- Andre Ethier, the National League RBI leader, was not in the Dodgers' lineup on Wednesday and, in a break from the club's current trend, he isn't injured.

Manager Don Mattingly decided it was time to give Ethier a rest, which, combined with Thursday's day off and a night game Friday, will provide Ethier with 2 1/2 days out of the lineup. Ethier had started all 43 games this year.

"We just decided to keep our wits about us while we still have them," said Ethier. "At the beginning of the season, Donnie talked to me and said if I stay healthy, he'd like to plan five or six days off, about one game a month. He said that should be ideal for me."

Ethier, in his free-agent year, was replaced in right field by Bobby Abreu, with Jerry Sands playing left. Although Abreu has been playing left field since joining the Dodgers, Mattingly said he chose this alignment because of the likelihood that left-handed starter Ted Lilly's pitches would be pulled by Arizona's right-handed hitters and Sands' younger legs would serve the Dodgers better in left.

The presence of D-backs left-handed starter Joe Saunders also convinced Mattingly to give Tony Gwynn a day off, replaced in center field by Elian Herrera, who signed as a catcher in 2003 and didn't play much outfield until '08.

Sellers scratched with numbness in leg

PHOENIX -- Just when it looked like the Dodgers were getting healthy, infielder Justin Sellers scratched from Wednesday's lineup with numbness in his right leg. He will have an MRI exam on Thursday.

Sellers, who was set to start at third base, was replaced in the lineup by Adam Kennedy.

Sellers said the injury could have occurred when he crashed into the stands making a highlight-reel catch of a Miguel Montero foul ball last week at Dodger Stadium.

"I know I played after that and I don't know if it happened then and got worse. I don't know," said Sellers. "It could have happened that way, I don't know for sure. I do know for sure I was beat up for a couple of days, so it definitely could have been from that."

Sellers said he's able to swing a bat, throw and run straight ahead. But when he reaches to make a backhand stop with his glove, "I feel a pinch and a tingle," he said.

Manager Don Mattingly said word of the injury caught him by surprise.

"He seems a little bit nervous about it," Mattingly said. "We tell them not to play with something and not tell us what's going on, but as many times as you tell them, they just don't do it."

Kemp, Rivera, Hairston nearing returns from DL

PHOENIX -- Injured Dodgers Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and Jerry Hairston could be back with the team by next week.

Kemp, out since May 14 with a strained left hamstring, is scheduled to start a two-game Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday and hopes to be activated when he is eligible on Tuesday.

Rivera, healing faster than expected from a ruptured left hamstring tendon sustained on May 8, could begin a Minor League rehab assignment within a day or two of Kemp and be back by mid to late next week.

Hairston, out since May 7 with a left hamstring strain, began a two-game rehab assignment on Wednesday, going 0-for-3 while playing five innings in left field. He's expected to rejoin the club for Friday night's homestand opener against Houston.

Mark Ellis, placed on the disabled list on Saturday after undergoing emergency surgery on his left leg, is expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday, but he will be out a minimum of six weeks.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.