Rod Barajas seems headed to DL

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas appeared headed for the disabled list after leaving Saturday night's game against the Houston Astros in the fifth inning with what was later diagnosed as a right-ankle sprain.

He officially was listed as day to day, but manager Don Mattingly said what he heard something more serious from Stan Conte, the team's medical-services director.

"What Stan said when he came down to the bench was that it was significant," Mattingly said. "That doesn't sound very encouraging."

Barajas, who left the ballpark to see a doctor before reporters were allowed into the clubhouse after the game, suffered the injury chasing a wild pitch by reliever Mike MacDougal that allowed the last run to score in the Astros' five-run fifth. He limped off the field with help from a member of the team's medical staff.

Barajas was immediately replaced by backup Dioner Navarro. Shortly thereafter, A.J. Ellis, the only other catcher on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of Triple-A Albuquerque's 13-10 victory over Iowa. That would seem to be a clear sign Ellis is about to be called up and Barajas is headed to the DL.

"I haven't made any announcements to that effect," Mattingly said. "But you guys [the media] are good."

Barajas is hitting .200 with eight home runs, 21 RBIs and a .264 on-base percentage. Even if he didn't go onto the DL, if he were unavailable for a few days, that would leave the Dodgers in the precarious position of having only one available catcher on their roster, a position most teams are loathe to put themselves into.

Ellis is hitting .307 for the Isotopes. He hit .267 in six games during an earlier stint with the Dodgers this season.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.