LOS ANGELES -- For now at least, third baseman Casey Blake is not going on the disabled list because of his ailing back.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre said that Blake showed signs of improvement while taking ground balls before Sunday's game against Atlanta.

It was previously said that if Blake's condition didn't improve by Sunday, then he probably would have been put on the DL.

"It was definitely a step forward today," Torre said. "If he just was status quo, [we] probably were leaning toward disabling [him]. But he showed progress today."

While sitting in front of his locker, Blake said that he felt better overall in terms of being able to twist and extend his back.

"I'm supposed to sit here for 10 minutes and maybe go hit a little bit in the cage and see how it responds," Blake said. "Hopefully we can make a determination by the end of the day or tomorrow."

Blake has been out of the lineup since last Wednesday, when he went 1-for-4 in a 1-0 win over Arizona.

Though there was a more hopeful tone surrounding Blake's status, Torre still has not ruled out a possible trip to the DL.

"If it gets to a point where it stops getting better, I think we have to maybe disable him," Torre said. "But as long as it continues to get better, then I think we might be three days away."

Dodgers pay tribute to late pitcher Lima

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers honored the life of Jose Lima at Viva Los Dodgers Day on Sunday. Lima died May 23 from a heart attack.

Lima went 13-5 with a 4.07 ERA for the Dodgers in 2004, and pitched a five-hit shutout in Game 3 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals.

For Sunday's national anthem, the Dodgers showed Lima's 2004 performance of the song before a game at Dodger Stadium. Jose Lima Jr. threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch in honor of his late father.

Ely elated after first big league hit

LOS ANGELES -- While starting pitcher John Ely didn't have the outing he would have preferred on Sunday, the day wasn't a total loss.

In the third inning, Ely hit a slow dribbler down the third-base line that he beat out for an infield single. The hit was Ely's first of his Major League career.

"That's my first hit since high school," Ely said.

Ely was noticeably excited after he beat out Omar Infante's throw to first, giving a fist pump after the umpire ruled he was safe. "Oh, you've got to [celebrate]," Ely said. "I haven't gotten a hit in so long that I don't know what it's like to reach base without being called out." The fact that his first hit didn't even get out of the infield grass is just details. "I'm on base and the inning keeps going -- that's all that matters to me," Ely said. "It's a line drive in the scorebooks."

Dodgers encouraged by Sherrill's progress

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre said that the team has been encouraged with what it's seen during injured left-hander George Sherrill's rehab outings.

Sherrill pitched a scoreless two-thirds innings for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday, and on Sunday, he threw 13 pitches in one inning of relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.

"Right now, we like what we're seeing," Torre said.

Sherrill was put on the 15-day disabled list May 24 due to tightness in his back and could be back with the Dodgers on Tuesday.

"My guess is that when he can be active, which I think is Tuesday, then he'll probably be put back on the roster," Torre said.

Haeger trying to get back in a groove

LOS ANGELES -- Charlie Haeger was back on the mound Saturday night for the first time since a May 8 start in Colorado in which he was unable to record an out against any of the five batters he faced.

Following that game, the Dodgers placed Haeger on the 15-day disabled list because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

While Haeger started five games before the injury, it doesn't seem likely that he'll be back in that role in the near future.

"I just want to see him get some action," Torre said. "I don't know if starting is necessary now that we can't really find a spot for him, with [Carlos] Monasterios pitching tomorrow and the off-day coming up on Thursday. I don't think that's going to happen."

Haeger gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in two innings of relief Saturday against Atlanta. He struck out three.

Froemming observes umps in Braves series

LOS ANGELES -- MLB umpire special assistant Bruce Froemming has been attending the Dodgers-Braves series to observe and mentor two of the Minor League relief umpires, Mike Muchlinski and D.J. Reyburn.

Froemming was the longest-tenured umpire at 37 years when he retired after the 2007 season.

Asked about the Jim Joyce imperfect game call, however, Froemming declined to comment, saying all such comments must come from the Office of the Commissioner.

Froemming was the plate umpire in a 1972 near-miss of a perfect game, calling ball four on Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas' 3-2 pitch to Larry Stahl of the Padres with two outs in the ninth inning of what had been a perfect game.