- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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SAN DIEGO -- Two days before his scheduled injury-rehabilitation start for the Los Angeles Dodgers' low Class A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, veteran right-hander Jon Garland said Friday that he sees no reason why he shouldn't be activated from the 15-day disabled list and make that start on Sunday in the major leagues instead.
"I don't think there is any chance in [heck] they're going to let me, but I want to, and I feel I'm capable of doing it," Garland said. "But I'm not the boss, so ... "
Garland has been on the 15-day disabled list all season and hasn't pitched in an actual, formal game since his second Cactus League start on March 9, when he left in the second inning with a strained oblique. He is on the DL for the first time since his rookie season of 2000.
Given that both he and the Dodgers' medical staff feel he is ready to pitch in an actual game, Garland was asked what the difference is between making his return by pitching in a Class A game and doing it by pitching in a major league game.
"You tell me," he said. "I think they just want to see me pitch competitively in a game, which doesn't really make sense because at some point, you're going to be in a game competitively, and if [the oblique] goes, it goes."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly reiterated that he has no intention of changing the plan with Garland and said the rehab assignment is simply a precaution.
"I appreciate his willingness to go out there, and I really wouldn't expect anything else," Mattingly said. "This guy likes to take the ball pretty much every time. But from our standpoint, we would really like to see him go out [to the minors] for one start, and if it's all good, it's one start. ... I think it's just fair to everybody that we see him in a game. We want him for every start after that."
Although the Dodgers haven't announced a starter for Sunday -- the first time this season they will use a fifth starter -- right-hander John Ely is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to make that start.
Garland said he is certain that his next start after Sunday will come in the majors. That rotation spot comes up again on Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.
"If they tell me no, they're going to have a fight on their hands," Garland said.
Largely because of his durability, the Dodgers signed Garland last winter to a one-year, $5 million free-agent contract with an $8 million club option for next season. Garland has pitched 200 innings in six of the past seven seasons and at least 190 innings in each of the past nine seasons, and he has made at least 32 starts every year since 2002.
"I haven't missed a start in probably 10 years, and now they're holding me back and I can't go," Garland said. "It [stinks]. I want to be out there helping this team win games, and I can't right now."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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