Hanley updates his status, looks forward to return

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers were encouraged by Hanley Ramirez's first Minor League rehab game on Saturday and he followed it up with another strong performance Sunday. The shortstop could be back in the Majors soon.

Ramirez played six innings at shortstop with Class A Rancho Cucamonga and went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in his first game action in more than a month. He followed it up Sunday with six more innings, going 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and run scored. Ramirez is recovering from a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery on March 22.

Ramirez singled in his first at-bat, hit an RBI groundout in his second at-bat and added a sacrifice fly to center.

"I was honestly surprised how good his timing looked at the plate," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before Sunday's game against the Brewers.

Mattingly said Ramirez had good footwork defensively. The former All-Star fielded five grounders and had no issues throwing. He's wearing a small splint on his thumb to prevent re-injury.

Ramirez is scheduled to play six innings at shortstop again Sunday with the Quakes.

Ramirez said before his rehab assignment began that he wanted to return for the Dodgers' game against the D-backs on Tuesday, when they will give away his bobblehead at Dodger Stadium.

Could the Dodgers activate Ramirez from the disabled list as soon as Monday?

"I think anything is possible with the way he looked [Saturday] night," Mattingly said. "The biggest thing is medical saying he's OK to go. At that point, if you think he's ready, do you think he's a better alternative?"

Mark Ellis hopes rest is enough to avoid DL trip

MIL@LAD: Ellis leaves the game after injury in fifth

LOS ANGELES -- Mark Ellis is hoping a few days off can prevent a trip to the disabled list after straining his right quadriceps on Friday.

Ellis was out of the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Brewers, the second game he's missed in as many days. The second baseman strained his quad while running to first base on a ground ball in the fifth inning Friday and was removed from the game.

"I'm still kind of day-to-day, but I'm really optimistic at this point," Ellis said.

Ellis said he is able to swing and throw without discomfort. He took swings in the batting cage Sunday morning, but has yet to start running to test his injured leg.

Ellis did not have an MRI. He said he was nervous when he first felt the injury, but felt better soon after.

"I thought it was going to be something a little bit more serious," Ellis said. "But that went away pretty quick after jogging back to the dugout."

The veteran has been one of the Dodgers' most consistent players with a .342 average, two homers and 11 RBIs. He's played solid defense and is riding a six-game hitting streak.

"You don't ever want to miss time when you're feeling good at the plate," he said. "But if I was to miss four or five days, that's better than missing two weeks."

Nick Punto filled in for Ellis at second base and in the No. 2 hole on Sunday. Skip Schumaker started at second when Ellis sat out on Saturday.

With Ellis unavailable again Sunday, how long can the Dodgers play shorthanded before deciding if a stint on the DL is necessary?

"You can go all you want," said manager Don Mattingly, "but does it cost you a game or be in a situation where you need that extra player? It either costs you a game or it doesn't."

Magill's strong debut could earn him a bullpen role

MIL@LAD: Magill strikes out seven in big league debut

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Magill was impressive in his Major League debut Saturday night in a spot-start and the right-hander could remain with the Dodgers in a bullpen role.

The 23-year-old Magill started in started in place of Stephen Fife, who was placed on the disabled list before the Saturday's game against the Brewers with right shoulder bursitis. The Dodgers promoted Magill from Triple-A Albuquerque, and he allowed two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two, and wasn't involved in the decision in a 6-4 Dodgers loss.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was encouraged by Magill's debut. The club lacks a true long reliever in the bullpen and is considering Magill for that role.

"We've actually had a few outings this year where we're getting stuck with not the right combination of guys," Mattingly said before Sunday's game against Milwaukee. "So we're going to have some discussions on where we go with that and what we do with it. It's still something we're talking about."

The Dodgers do not need a fifth starter until a three-game home series against the D-backs May 6-8, but expect left-hander Chris Capuano back from the disabled list by then. So if the Dodgers keep Magill in the Majors, it would likely be in a relief role.

Magill, the organization's seventh-ranked prospect, has primarily been a starter since the Dodgers drafted him in the 31st round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.