Sherrill still in Dodgers' bullpen

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers reliever George Sherrill is staying with the club, at least for now. The struggling left-hander, who in the span of a year has gone from All-Star closer for the Baltimore Orioles to being put on waivers by the Dodgers, cleared waivers on Monday but wasn't outrighted to the minor leagues.

"George Sherrill doesn't have a situation," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said when asked about Sherrill's situation before Monday night's game with the San Francisco Giants. "He is still in our bullpen."

However, with the Dodgers having secured waivers on Sherrill for the remainder of the current waiver period, which expires on July 31, they can outright him or release him at any point. But that no longer seems likely in a bullpen where Ramon Troncoso is in Triple-A, Ronald Belisario is on the restricted list and Jonathan Broxton probably won't be available until at least Wednesday after throwing 44 pitches in the suffocating heat and humidity of St. Louis on Sunday.

Sherrill was placed on waivers last Wednesday, and while names on the waiver wire are among baseball's most tightly guarded secrets, that news somehow was leaked to the media. The result was that Sherrill was put in a rather awkward position -- most players aren't aware they have been placed on waivers until and unless they are claimed by another club, outrighted or released. Sherrill actually made two appearances for the Dodgers and was warming up for a third on Sunday while knowing he had been waived.

Sherrill has a 7.48 ERA in 37 appearances, but he was able to identify a mechanical flaw last week while throwing in the bullpen. He then turned in a solid outing against the Cardinals on Thursday night, retiring two of the three batters he faced, before turning in a typically shaky one on Friday night, when he allowed a run on two hits, including a two-run homer by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, in one inning.

Unfamiliar position

Dodgers utility man Jamey Carroll started Monday night's game in left field, a position he had played just seven times in his career and not at all this year.

He went 1-for-3 with a walk and scored a run in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss.

"I sort of gave him a heads-up a couple of days ago," Torre said before the game. "Against certain left-handers [and with Manny Ramirez injured], I think we may be doing that."

The Dodgers faced Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner on Monday.

Thumbs up

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin returned to the lineup after missing two games with an injury to his left thumb that resulted from the constant pounding of catching pitches. The Dodgers medical staff rigged up some special protection for the thumb to guard against Martin possibly aggravating the injury.

Martin, like most catchers, normally wears an "orthoplast" thumb guard, which has a hard shell and extends from the IP joint (the moveable joint nearest the tip of the thumb) to the thenar mass, which is the meaty, lower-left quadrant of the palm. But trainers have extended the orthoplast especially for Martin so that it now covers the entire thumb, past the IP joint and all the way to the tip.

When hitting, Martin will wear a similar material, but a smaller version that can be quickly taped on before a plate appearance and just as quickly removed afterward.

Return uncertain

Reserve outfielder Reed Johnson, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since Thursday and hasn't played since July 8 because of a lumbar strain in his back, is no longer expected to return as soon as he becomes eligible on Saturday. The reason is simply that club officials now want Johnson to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

"We just want to make sure," Torre said.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com