HOUSTON -- Sunday's scheduled starter, Vicente Padilla, has been scratched and most likely won't pitch again this season for the Dodgers because of a bulging disc in his neck.

The same problem landed the 32-year-old right-hander on the disabled list for the second time this season from Aug. 16 through Sept. 5.

Right-hander Carlos Monasterios will start on Sunday for the Dodgers against Nelson Figueroa.

When asked if Padilla was out for the season, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said, "It wouldn't surprise me."

On Thursday, Padilla threw a bullpen session and reported no problems. On Friday, Padilla threw on flat ground and said he felt fine physically.

"But later it started bothering him and he told me about the fifth or sixth inning [Friday] night," said head trainer Stan Conte. "[Saturday] he came in a little worse. That predicated to us knowing he wouldn't pitch [Sunday].

"We're assuming that it's a recurrence of the disc bulge that's irritated. Based on what he told me last night, obviously he can't pitch."

Conte said most people that have a disc problem in the neck have pain down the arm. Padilla has pain in the middle of his shoulder blade on the left side.

Padilla had an extended stay on the DL from April 23-June 19 with an inflamed radial nerve in his right arm. On Monday at San Diego, Padilla made his first start since Aug. 15 at Atlanta and allowed three runs in four innings in the Dodgers' 4-2 loss. He gave up five hits with one walk and five strikeouts over 59 pitches.

Lindsey comes long way for first start

HOUSTON -- After spending 16 years in the Minor Leagues and three days after his Major League debut, the Dodgers' John Lindsey, 33, made his first start in the bigs on Saturday in the club's 6-3 win over the Astros.

"It's truly a blessing to be out here," Lindsey said. "I know where I'm coming from and where I've been to get here. So I'm just enjoying it. I believed it would happen sooner or later." The right-handed-hitting Lindsey, who played first base and batted sixth, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez.

Lindsey fanned swinging in his first at-bat leading off the second and was hitless in two pinch-hit appearances in the series.

Ausmus starting again in Houston

HOUSTON -- Brad Ausmus will be the starting catcher for the Dodgers on Sunday in what will likely be the 41-year-old's final game at Minute Maid Park, where he was the Astros' starting catcher from 2001-08.

"Yes, he will be the oldest guy on the field," joked Joe Torre.

The Dodgers manager had given Ausmus his choice of which game to start at Houston except for Thursday, the opener of the four-game series.

In his second season with Los Angeles, Ausmus has been everything Torre expected from the veteran catcher.

"I saw the professionalism from across the way," Torre said. "But you can't fully appreciate him until you are around him. [He is] high-class, very intelligent -- a great sense of humor. [He has] a lot of heart and a lot of the good things."

Ausmus, who ranks seventh all time in games caught at 1,935, was reinstated from the disabled list on July 20 after missing 90 games with a back injury.

"Here he is back catching," Torre said. "That tells you something about someone who is likely in the last year of his career, and has the motivation to get back."

Gibbons glad to be back in the bigs

HOUSTON -- Dodgers outfielder Jay Gibbons isn't taking his return to the Major Leagues for granted. Not after being out of the majors since the 2007 season.

"When you're in the game seven years straight, you start taking things for granted and understandably," said Gibbons, who played with Baltimore from 2001-07. "But I'm not doing it this time around. I may never get back here. "It's hard to be in the big leagues, so I'm going to take advantage of it."

The 33-year-old left-handed batter took advantage of the situation on Friday. He hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the 11th inning in Friday's 4-2 win over Houston.

Entering Saturday, Gibbons was batting .343 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 35 at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 8. At Albuquerque, Gibbons batted .347 with 19 home runs and 83 RBIs in 94 games.

"It's a small sample but it's been fun," said Gibbons, who the last two years had two stints in the Independent League and brief stints with the Marlins and Brewers. "I'm just trying to stick somewhere."

Gibbons started in left field on Saturday against the Astros. In the first inning, he threw out Michael Bourn at third who was attempting to advance from first on a single by Jeff Keppinger.