Charlie Haeger is designated for assignment and his Dodgers career may be over

The Charlie Haeger Experiment is over. At least for now.

The Dodgers designated Haeger for assignment Friday, a move that could potentially sever their ties with the embattled knuckleballer who started the season as the fifth member of their rotation.

Haeger, 26, was 0-4 with an 8.40 earned-run average in nine games, including six starts. Placed on the disabled list May 9 because of a minor foot problem, he pitched only twice in the last 6½ weeks. He was charged with four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings in his most recent start, Thursday in Anaheim.

With Chad Billingsley set to return from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, Haeger was deemed expendable. He was replaced on the active roster by reliever Jon Link, who was recalled from triple-A Albuquerque.

Asked whether he felt he received a fair chance, Haeger replied, “Early in the season I did. Coming off the DL and pitching twice in the span of two months, I don’t know how fair that is. But I had the opportunity early in the season to throw the ball [well] and I didn’t.”

But the Dodgers might not be done with Haeger. If he clears waivers and isn’t traded, he wouldn’t have the option of declining a minor league assignment from the Dodgers.

Like Torre, Mattingly facing former team

Derek Jeter said he didn’t think it would be particularly strange to see Joe Torre or Larry Bowa in a Dodgers uniform.

But Don Mattingly?

“I thought Donnie was the one that was really weird,” Jeter said. “He’s never been in another uniform.”

As a player or as a coach. The Dodgers’ hitting coach was an All-Star first baseman, bench coach and hitting coach for the Yankees. He was a candidate to replace Torre as their manager.

“And it’s different for me to see those guys across the field,” Mattingly said. “It’s a little weird.”

Almost three years removed from losing out on the Yankees managerial job to Joe Girardi, Mattingly said he has no negative feelings toward his former employers.

“They treated me fair in the process,” he said. “In the end, it really was a blessing for me.”

Problems stemming from his divorce forced Mattingly to return to his Indiana home to take care of his teenage son and miss the first half of the 2008 season.

No days off for Manny

Torre said he isn’t planning to give any of his regular starters days off, unless a pitching matchup calls for one. Manny Ramirez, who was the designated hitter in the Dodgers’ previous six games, is scheduled to start all three against the Yankees in left field.

“I told him he has to go back to work today,” Torre said.

One player in, one out

Top outfield prospect Andrew Lambo was one for four with a strikeout for double-A Chattanooga in his first game back from a 50-game suspension for violating minor league baseball’s drug policy. Lambo was suspended for testing positive for a recreational drug.

On the same day Lambo made his comeback, triple-A outfielder Prentice Redman was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for an amphetamine. Redman, 30, is not considered a prospect but was hitting .332 with 10 home runs and 41 runs batted in.