Dodgers put Hector Gimenez on DL

SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers placed catcher Hector Gimenez on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of pain in his right knee.

The move clears a place on the active roster for right-hander John Ely, who was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to make what likely will be a one-time spot start against the San Diego Padres.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Gimenez has been dealing with discomfort in his knee since late in spring training. Manager Don Mattingly said he and Colletti originally had planned to send catcher A.J. Ellis to Albuquerque to make room for Ely, but that they changed their minds after a report from assistant trainer Todd Tomczyk that the pain in Gimenez's knee had gotten worse.

"I said, 'Can he [play]?' and [Tomczyk] said he didn't know,'' Mattingly said. "We are at a point with [18] more [games] left [without an off-day] where we can't afford to have a backup catcher not be able to go."

Ellis actually had been told he was going to the minors and was in the process of packing his equipment when Mattingly told him he was staying.

The Dodgers have been carrying three catchers all season partly because Gimenez is out of minor league options, a situation that could come to a head when backup catcher Dioner Navarro comes off the 15-day disabled list sometime in the next few weeks. Gimenez, a rookie, has one hit and three strikeouts in seven at-bats. He has started one game behind the plate and pinch hit in three others.

His previous major league experience consisted of two pinch-hitting appearances for the Houston Astros in 2006, and he spent all of 2007 on the Astros' major league disabled list following surgery on the labrum in his right shoulder during spring training.

Ely was promoted to fill the fifth spot in the rotation, which the Dodgers haven't needed to fill this season until now. But veteran Jon Garland (oblique strain) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start on Sunday for advanced Single-A Rancho Cucamonga at Inland Empire and throw about 80 pitches. If that goes well, Garland will be activated from the DL in time to start on Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.