Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke has a stiff neck, but unlikely to go on disabled list.

The Dodgers will have to make room for Jerry Hairston Jr. on the active roster tomorrow somehow.

Hairston played back to back games for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday and Saturday, and Don Mattingly wanted to give Hairston the day off Sunday, but he’s expected to come off the disabled list in time for Monday’s game against the Angels. Hairston was placed on the DL on May 6 with a strained left groin.

Needing to open a roster spot in the next 24 hours, the Dodgers’ manager could have made mention of a never-before-heard injury Sunday as a pretext for putting that player on the disabled list. It’s happened before.

Tthat was not the case with Scott Van Slyke, who still had a stiff neck one day after diving for a ball in left field against the St. Louis Cardinals. Mattingly said that the team’s medical staff “didn’t really talk about” a contingency plan if Van Slyke needed to go on the disabled list, which would be a logical first step if the injury were considered serious.

Van Slyke isn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup today, but Mattingly said the 26-year-old is available to pinch hit.

“He’ll continue to get treatment,” Mattingly said.

That leaves shortstop Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz as the likely candidates to be removed from the 25-man roster to make room for Hairston. Gordon is hitting .167 as the Dodgers’ primary number-eight hitter and a fill-in shortstop. Dodgers management has often repeated the stance that Gordon needs to be playing every day; he’s more likely to get that opportunity at Triple-A Albuquerque once Hairston returns. Gordon has one option year remaining on his contract.

Cruz does not. He is batting .096 (7 for 73) this season and has been rumored to be a candidate to be designated for assignment for weeks. However, Mattingly said Sunday that Cruz will return to the Dodgers’ lineup at some point; he just didn’t know when.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.