SAN DIEGO -- Tuning up for a likely return from the disabled list, Dodgers right-hander Jon Garland allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.

Garland, healed from a strained oblique, made the start instead of taking his first turn as the Dodgers' fifth starter Sunday. John Ely started for the Dodgers. If Garland comes out of the game healthy, he is expected to start for the Dodgers on Friday night at home vs. the Cardinals.

Garland allowed six hits, struck out three without a walk against Inland Empire. Among the players Garland faced was Angels rehabbing outfielder Reggie Willits, who had one of the hits.

Dodgers place Gimenez on DL, recall Ely

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers made room on the roster for starting pitcher John Ely on Sunday, but not the way they planned.

Manager Don Mattingly told catcher A.J. Ellis on Saturday night he was going to Triple-A Albuquerque, so Ellis packed his bags Sunday morning. While Ellis was packing, assistant trainer Todd Tomczyk came to Mattingly with news that Hector Gimenez, who would have been the lone remaining catcher after regular Rod Barajas, was complaining of increased swelling in his right knee.

"A.J. was going to be the guy going," said Mattingly. "But we're at a point, with 17 games in a row, we can't afford to have a catcher not able to go. At that point, it was easy. I told him last night the different things that could happen."

So Gimenez was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Ellis was told to unpack and stay awhile.

Gimenez is out of options, but he and the club insist this is no phantom injury to avoid losing him through waivers.

"I've been trying to get it better, but for some reason it's still swollen," said Gimenez. "I've tried my best to get it better, but it just got worse. I don't know when it happened or how it happened, but at some point it started bothering me. It's been swollen since Spring Training and I've been icing it. Now I will go to Arizona for rehabilitation and get it right."

Gimenez, who made the club by surprise after having only two Major League at-bats in 10 previous professional seasons, struck out as a pinch-hitter Friday night and is 1-for-7 this year.

The reprieve for Ellis came the day after he caught a 4-0 shutout on his 30th birthday.

Lopes inspires Kemp's perfect night on bases

SAN DIEGO -- First-base coach Davey Lopes returned to the Dodgers on Saturday after a week away and Matt Kemp stole a career-high three bases.

Coincidence?

Kemp thinks not. He credits Lopes, who left after the death of a family member, as well as a corresponding smarter approach to basestealing, for his perfect 5-for-5 stat on the bases after being caught 15 times in 34 tries last year. He was 34-for-42 in 2009.

"I'm just paying attention better," said Kemp. "I know when to go, I'm learning how to get reads. And Davey, too. We talk about things a lot now. I have a plan each game, instead of not having a plan and just going when I feel like going.

"There are certain situations and certain pitchers you just can't go. Maybe they deliver the ball to the plate faster than another guy or use the slide step. Some guys pick over a lot. Maybe they think I'm going to get tired. I'm not going to get tired."

Mattingly lets Furcal, Blake rest in finale

SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came up with another Sunday lineup filled with bench players.

With shortstop Rafael Furcal improved but still nursing a sore left wrist, Mattingly started Jamey Carroll at shortstop. He gave Casey Blake the game off, not because of the game-ending collision he had with Chase Headley, but because Blake has "played a lot quick" since returning Thursday from the disabled list.

Juan Uribe moved back to third base and Aaron Miles started at second base, with Tony Gwynn back in left field and leading off.

Mattingly said the fact that Blake was 4-for-21 lifetime against San Diego starter Aaron Harang, while Miles is 6-for-19, made the decision easier.