LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers infielder Justin Sellers was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a bulging disk he believes is the result of the highlight-reel catch he made diving into the stands at Dodger Stadium earlier this month.
Sellers has been playing in increasing pain and the injury was diagnosed through an MRI Thursday. Manager Don Mattingly said the club is optimistic that anti-inflammatory medication and strengthening exercises will have Sellers able to return in the minimum 15 days.
Sellers said he had a back condition in high school, but nothing like what locked up earlier this week. He said surgery is not currently being considered.
"Back issues are no joke and you could be out a long time," he said. "We have to stay on top of it. Hopefully I'll get on a good program and avoid surgery."
Sellers said he was really banged up in the days after his May 15 catch of the D-backs' Miguel Montero's foul pop-up, in which he slammed into and sailed over the auxiliary scoreboard, landing on his back between two aisles of seats.
"It could be an aftershock of that play," he said. "Going into the stands took more of a toll on my body than I thought. I started to feel a tingle down the right side."
Mattingly's career was curtailed by back problems.
"When the bulging disk hits the nerve, I've been through that and it gets in that area and it's hard to compete," he said. "We feel if we get it calmed down it will be just a couple weeks. Once you get it off the nerve it feels normal."
To replace Sellers, utilityman Jerry Hairston was activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Hairston returns from DL to start Friday's game
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers activated utilityman Jerry Hairston from the 15-day disabled list Friday, and he was scheduled to play third base against the Astros. The club placed Justin Sellers on the 15-day DL as a corresponding move.
Hairston was placed on the disabled list on May 7 after straining his left hamstring legging out an infield hit in Chicago. He played rehab games with Triple-A Albuquerque Wednesday and Thursday.
Sellers, who is suffering from a bulging disk in his back, was hitting .205 in 19 games with Los Angeles.
Kemp on the way back, followed by Rivera
LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Hairston returned from the disabled list Friday and Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera are only days away.
Hairston, out with a strained left hamstring, was activated to replace the injured Justin Sellers and started Friday night at third base. Hairston played Wednesday and Thursday in Minor League rehab games for Triple-A Albuquerque.
Kemp and Rivera, also out with left hamstring injuries, will start rehab assignments Sunday with Albuquerque. Kemp will play two games, then is expected to be activated Tuesday, the first day he is eligible to return. Rivera will also play those two games for Albuquerque, but not be activated. Because he's been out five days longer than Kemp, manager Don Mattingly said Rivera likely will play in some Class A games for Rancho Cucamonga until his hitting timing is back.
"It's to get him more baseball, not because of his leg," said Mattingly.
Third baseman Juan Uribe, on the DL with an arthritic left wrist, resumed light hitting Friday.
Hairston said he feels 100 percent.
"I went down to test it and it feels good," said Hairston. "I'm ready to play. All systems are go."
Estimate for Ellis' return now at least 2 months
LOS ANGELES -- The estimated recovery time of Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis has been extended to two months after an MRI revealed a medial collateral ligament sprain of the left knee.
Ellis already has had emergency surgery to relieve swelling in the left leg, which was injured last Friday in a takeout slide by Cardinals infielder Tyler Greene. Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone said surgery is not currently considered for the ligament sprain.
Falson said Ellis also has an accompanying blister capsule sprain and a bone contusion on the outside of the knee.
"He's not full weight bearing right now. He's on crutches. So it just depends on how many days it takes for him to get to that full weight bearing," she said. "There are a lot of factors here, and it's not like this is a common, everyday baseball injury that we see all the time. These are best estimates we can give based on tissue healing times. But every person is different so we are going to see how it goes."
Falsone stressed that because all of Ellis' injuries are trauma related -- and he has a long wound from the surgery -- healing time is uncertain.
"Right now we are letting everything heal up and let him recover from the trauma and begin some basic weight bearing exercises and range of motion type of stuff and progress," she said, adding that the healing of the wound and the knee sprain "both need healing time."
Guerrier shut down as elbow gets no better
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier has been shut down again in a renewed attempt to resolve inflammation in his right elbow flexor tendon.
Guerrier, on the disabled list, underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection Thursday and will have another next week and possibly another a week later. In the meantime, he will not throw a ball.
Trainer Sue Falsone said Guerrier has scarring in the tendon from repeated traumas and they've been unable to put down the inflammation it causes. If this approach doesn't work, surgery is "the last option," she said.
Guerrier, disabled since April 19, had a similar injection three weeks ago, but resumed throwing after several days and has experienced discomfort that heightened during a bullpen session Wednesday, after which the decision was made to try a new course of action.
"Now I'm shut down completely, and we didn't do that last time," Guerrier said. "I'll have two injections and how I feel will determine if I have a third and I'll start throwing after that, but I'll have zero pain when I come back. I was trying to convince myself I could do it the other way."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.