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Carlos Frias still dealing with back issue, Monday start in doubt

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Carlos Frias is still dealing with a lower back issue, and is in doubt to make his scheduled start on Monday against the Phillies, manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday.

Frias was able to throw his bullpen session on Saturday and showed improvement, though possibly not enough to be cleared to start Monday night.

"He was okay today. Not quite as good as we'd like him to be. We're still talking, and haven't really made a decision on him yet," Mattingly said. "The pen seemed to go good, better than the other day. But he wasn't throwing free and it wasn't totally out of his mind."

Frias pitched through five innings on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, but was removed from the game after tightness in his lower back. He had an MRI exam that was clean, but the Dodgers remain cautious in the near term.

"It was totally clean with no structural problems," manager Don Mattingly revealed. "But that doesn't mean he's not feeling something."

It is unclear whom the Dodgers might choose to pitch on Monday if Frias can't go.

The options on the 40-man roster are limited, with Joe Wieland on the disabled list having last pitched on June 18. Ian Thomas threw 101 pitches on Thursday, so Monday would mean pitching on three days rest. Zach Lee pitched five perfect innings on Wednesday in the Arizona Rookie League and would line up for Monday, but that was his first start in five weeks after dealing with tingling in his fingers.

Brandon Beachy is scheduled to make his fifth rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday, and pitched five innings in his last start. But the Dodgers are being cautious with Beachy, coming off Tommy John surgery and who hasn't pitched in a major league game since Aug. 20, 2013.

"We don't have any dates as far as when he's going to be activated or anything like that. The main thing for Brandon has been to make sure we stay on a timetable that allows him the best chance to get totally healed from the Tommy John surgery. To recover. For him to be physically ready, for him to be mentally ready," Mattingly said on Friday. "I haven't heard any kind of projected date that he's going to be back."

Another possibility, since the Dodgers were off on Thursday might have been Brett Anderson starting Monday on four days rest, bumping the Frias spot to Tuesday, but Mattingly late on Saturday said that was not an option.