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04/10/10 7:40 PM ET

Back issue sends Ausmus to DL

Dodgers' veteran catcher sidelined by pinched nerve

MIAMI -- The Dodgers placed catcher Brad Ausmus on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, retroactive to Friday, with a pinched nerve in his lower back and recalled A.J. Ellis from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Ausmus, who turns 41 next week, missed a week of games during Spring Training with lower back pain but said this injury is completely different.

"It's on the opposite side," he said. "The other day in Pittsburgh in the eighth inning, [while backing up a play at first base] my hip started to give me problems. I was hoping it was just because I hadn't caught in a while. But the next 18 hours, any prolonged sitting or lying down caused a shooting pain outside my left leg and a feeling of numbness in my left foot."

Ausmus said his foot had the "pins and needles" feeling of awakening after falling asleep. He said he's hopeful he won't be out longer than the 15 days, but he also said there was no timetable for a return. He is taking medication to reduce swelling and get the pressure off the pinched nerve.

He said the source of the injury is believed to be the lower back, although he said his back "feels fine." He said he feels best while standing and the most discomfort when sitting or lying down.

Despite the spring back injury, Ausmus was healthy enough to start the season on the active roster. He had never previously been on the disabled list in a 17-season career, although he has had a history of lower back problems early in the season.

He caught all nine innings of Thursday's game in Pittsburgh and, in the process, moved past Benito Santiago and into a tie for seventh place on the all-time list for games caught with Al Lopez at 1,918.

Ellis played 21 games this spring and hit .278. He has had brief callups the past two seasons.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.