Stults and Ellis to AAA; Jones Designated

The return of Manny Ramirez has prompted a number of roster moves that include designating outfielder Mitch Jones to make room of Ramirez on the roster and sending LHP Eric Stults and C AJ Ellis to Albuquerque. Decisions will also have to be made on RHP Claudio Vargas and LHP Hong-Chih Kuo.

Stults left thumb is healed and he has been taken off the 15-day disabled list. He will will start regularly at Albuquerque, either to earn another shot at the Dodgers' fifth-starter spot or to showcase his talents to other teams with the Trade Deadline approaching at the end of July.

The Dodges optioned third-string catcher A.J. Ellis to Albuquerque after the final game of the Colorado series and will catch regularly with the Isotopes and get a September call when rosters expand.

Jones enters a 10-day window during which he can be claimed by another club, traded or released. The move was made to clear a 40-man roster spot for Ramirez, who did not count against the roster total during his suspension. If, after the 10-day period he is not claimed, he is eligible to be re-signed.

On Friday, the Minor League rehab assignment is up for Vargas, who was disabled with a sprained right elbow, and he is expected to be activated to replace Ellis on the 25-man active roster. A 40-man spot must be cleared and their is some thought of moving reliever Hong-Chih Kuo from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

Vargas could declare free agency if he is not activated and the club wants to see if he can help on the Major League level before that happens.

However, the addition of Vargas would give the Dodgers 13 pitchers and a bench of Mark Loretta, Brad Ausmus, Juan Castro and Juan Pierre. Four of the pitchers remaining are long relievers -- Jeff Weaver, James McDonald, Eric Milton and Vargas -- and with two off-days in the next five days and the club using only four starters until July 11.