Dodgers may be interested in Jarrod Washburn

Jarrod Washburn is friends with Jeff Weaver and in a fantasy football league with Doug Mientkiewicz.

The possibility of Washburn joining his pals in Dodger blue appears very real.

The Dodgers are interested in the Seattle Mariners starter, a durable left-hander who could bolster an injury-plagued rotation. Washburn has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his 14 starts this season. He also likes Dodger Stadium.

"It's a great park and there's always a big crowd and the team's winning, so that would be good," Washburn said Friday before the Mariners played the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Complicating the efforts of the Dodgers -- or any team -- hoping to acquire Washburn is the fact that the Mariners began play Friday only two games out of first place in the American League West.

Does Washburn think that playing for a contender makes him less likely to get traded?

"I don't think about it at all one way or the other," said the former Angel, who is 4-5 with a 3.22 earned-run average. "I've had so many things happen either personally or that I've seen in baseball that just surprise you that they happen.

"Guys get traded or not traded or whatever. Nothing would surprise me either way. The only thing I can control is what I do every five days, and that's all I'm worried about."

Minor move for Manny

Manny Ramirez's road back to Dodger Stadium takes a somewhat unconventional turn today: from triple-A Albuquerque to Class-A Inland Empire. It should be an easy transition, with one possible exception.

"If the guys are wild, then that's an issue," Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said, alluding to the fact that command can be an issue for pitchers in the lower rungs of the minor leagues.

Ramirez, who went 0 for 3 with a walk in two games with the Isotopes, is scheduled to play in four games with the 66ers. Ramirez returned to Dodger Stadium on Friday for a morning workout, Torre said.

What about Juan?

Torre said that Juan Pierre, who has filled in admirably in Ramirez's absence, would play a day or two a week in center field upon Ramirez's return July 3 from a 50-game drug suspension.

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier will alternate as the right fielder on the days Pierre starts, giving the other player the day off.

Schmidt sharp

In perhaps the most encouraging sign in his comeback from shoulder surgery that has sidelined him since June 2007, Jason Schmidt pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings for Albuquerque in a rehabilitation start. The right-hander gave up five hits and one walk while striking out seven. He threw 104 pitches.

Elevator operator dies

Horace Lee, who operated one of the elevators behind home plate at Dodger Stadium for 21 years, died this week.

"He was always in a good mood, always nice to everybody," fellow elevator attendant Marie Meza said. "All the players knew him."

Short hops

An examination of reliever Will Ohman's bothersome left elbow revealed tendinitis in the area. He will rest and be reevaluated Monday. . . . Eric Stults, on the disabled list because of a thumb injury, gave up one run in three innings Thursday during his first rehabilitation start for Class-A Inland Empire and is scheduled to pitch again Monday. . . . The Dodgers signed third-round draft pick Brett Wallach, a right-hander from Orange Coast College who is the son of Albuquerque Manager Tim Wallach. . . . The Dodgers optioned struggling reliever Cory Wade to Albuquerque after the game to make room on the roster for Eric Milton, who will be activated today to start against the Mariners.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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