Manny Ramirez delays MRI exam

LOS ANGELES -- With progress having apparently stalled on his strained right calf, Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez was scheduled for an MRI exam in Phoenix on Friday. But the exam never happened because Ramirez, who suffers from claustrophobia, couldn't stay in the MRI tube long enough.

Dodgers trainer Stan Conte says Ramirez has experienced the same difficulty with MRI exams in the past. Conte wasn't sure when the exam would take place. He did say an open MRI, which is commonly used for patients with claustrophobia because it uses a tube that is less confining, is an option for Ramirez. But Conte said the resolution quality of the results from open MRI exams isn't as good as that of traditional MRI exam results.

At any rate, Conte said the test itself isn't terribly urgent.

"I just wanted to give him some peace of mind that nothing [bad] was going on and also to give us peace of mind that it was the same," Conte said. "It's such a not-critical test that ... I'm not going to get too worked up about it at all."

Ramirez is believed to be at least a week away from starting a minor league rehabilitation assignment and possibly longer because the calf, which has caused him to miss all but one game and half an inning of another in the second half, doesn't seem to be improving.

"It's just something that is going to take a little time," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who spoke with Ramirez by phone just before batting practice Friday. "[Team physician Dr. Neal] ElAttrache said it was going to be three, four, five weeks, and it has been a little more than three weeks now. [Ramirez] is getting frustrated by it."

Torre said Ramirez would remain for now in Arizona, where he is rehabilitating at the team's spring training facility in Glendale.

Waiver wire talk

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he isn't focused on any particular area as he seeks to further upgrade the club in advance of baseball's Aug. 31 deadline to trade players who have cleared waivers. But with the starting rotation now stacked five deep with established pitchers, the offense struggling and still no means of predicting when Ramirez will return, it stands to reason the Dodgers will pursue a hitter.

"A little bit, but you have a maze to walk through after July 31," Colletti said. "A lot of different things have to transpire."

There was one report on a San Francisco Chronicle blog that the Dodgers might have put in a waiver claim on Washington Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn, but that report was admittedly purely speculative. Club officials are strictly prohibited by Major League Baseball to reveal any waiver activity, not only to the media but also to the players involved.

Dunn has played 1,012 games in his career in left field, including 62 as recently as last year. Even if the Dodgers did put in a claim on Dunn, the Nationals aren't expected to simply let him go on a waiver claim. But if the Dodgers have the worst won-loss record of any team putting in a claim on Dunn, they still will have the right to negotiate with the Nationals on a possible trade for him.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo accompanied his club to town for this weekend's three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Asked if he planned to have any discussions with Rizzo, Colletti was coy.

"We probably will," he said. "We're good friends."

Belisario rehab assignment scheduled

Reliever Ronald Belisario, who has been on the restricted list for the past month for reasons that still haven't been revealed, is scheduled to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment with high Single-A Inland Empire on Saturday against Rancho Cucamonga. Torre said there was a possibility Belisario would pitch one inning Saturday and another inning Sunday and be ready to rejoin the big league club in time for its upcoming seven-game trip to Philadelphia and Atlanta that begins on Tuesday.

Furcal still improving

Shortstop Rafael Furcal continued to experience improvement with his back, increasing the likelihood that he will avoid the disabled list and be ready to return to the field Tuesday night at Philadelphia.

"They have a program mapped out for his throwing, fielding and hitting," Torre said. "If we get all that done by Sunday, he could be a player for us Tuesday."

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.