ST. LOUIS -- Ted Lilly, who came out of his last outing early because of a stiff neck, will make his next scheduled start Friday night as the latest convert to the handiwork of club acupuncturist Ichiro Tani.

Lilly's conversion is particularly noteworthy because he never expected to respond to the alternative treatment, even though his wife, Natasha, is a veterinarian who regularly utilizes acupuncture in the treatment of large and small animals.

"I went into it doubtful it would work, because I don't understand the science of it," Lilly said. "But I got to the point where I was concerned if I'd be able to pitch, so I was willing to try.

"I've had [treatment] the last couple of days and I noticed it as soon as I got off the table. It's hard to think it's from anything else. I had more movement after being so locked up."

Tani is in his seventh season as the club's message therapist. A native of Japan, he spent 10 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers before coming to the Dodgers.

Jansen activated; Gordon nearing return

ST. LOUIS -- After Wednesday's win over the Cardinals, the Dodgers activated reliever Kenley Jansen off the 15-day disabled list and optioned Josh Lindblom back to Double-A Chattanooga.

Jansen, who has recovered from an irregular heartbeat, struck out two in a hitless inning during a Minor League rehab outing for Class A Rancho Cucamonga Tuesday night, duplicating his Sunday night outing.

Lindblom will return to the big league club 10 days later when the Minor League season ends, because rosters will have expanded on Sept. 1.

Mattingly said shortstop Dee Gordon, disabled with a bruised shoulder, is expected to play two games in a Minor League rehab assignment Thursday and Friday, and could be activated Saturday.

"He looked better yesterday," Mattingly said of Gordon, whose swing was tentative Monday. "We just want to make sure he's comfortable. I feel like he was letting it go, but he has to be able to slide, do everything, so it could be a day later."

Although Justin Sellers was called up to replace Gordon, Sellers has played well, so Gordon's return could place Eugenio Velez in jeopardy. Velez, despite his defensive versatility, is 0-for-26 at the plate.

Casey Blake returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing six starts with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Mattingly said he gave slumping right fielder Andre Ethier Wednesday off against left-handed starter Jaime Garcia, but he will return to the lineup Friday night. Ethier is 2-for-27 on the trip.

"He hasn't been fighting himself too bad lately," Mattingly said of Ethier. "I know his knee barks now and then. With tomorrow off, it will be good to get him a couple days."