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08/12/09 8:41 PM ET

Aurilia goes on DL as Schierholtz returns

Ankle problem sidelines veteran infielder until rosters expand

SAN FRANCISCO -- Contrary to rampant speculation, infielder Rich Aurilia appears destined to finish this season with the Giants.

Aurilia went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with tendinitis in his left ankle, clearing roster room for right fielder Nate Schierholtz to be activated from the DL. Schierholtz, who had been sidelined with a bruised left hip, immediately returned to the starting lineup, batted fifth and tripled in his first plate appearance in the Giants' series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which San Francisco won, 4-2, in the 10th inning.

After Monday night's game, Aurilia and bench coach Ron Wotus exchanged an apparent farewell hug in full view of reporters, prompting assumptions -- none confirmed by the Giants -- that the 14-year veteran would be released to create a roster vacancy for Schierholtz on Tuesday. But the iffy health of utility man Juan Uribe (hamstring) and second baseman Freddy Sanchez (left shoulder) left the Giants in need of a full complement of infielders, delaying Schierholtz's return.

Aurilia, who flied out as a pinch-hitter Tuesday night, said that his ankle has bothered him all season.

"It's not something that snuck up on me," he said.

He added that he has received cortisone shots, with the most recent one occurring shortly before the All-Star break, in hopes of easing his discomfort.

"It just so coincides with the time that we had to make a roster move," said Aurilia, 37, who's batting .220 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 50 games.

Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that after Aurilia's DL stint ends, he'll go on a brief Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment, as he did earlier this month following another trip to the DL due to an infected right big toe.

"That's the plan right now," Bochy said. If that's the case, Aurilia wouldn't complete his rehab stint until after Sept. 1, when roster limits expand to 40.

This will enable the Giants to activate Aurilia without making a corresponding roster move and enduring the unpleasant aspects of releasing a popular player who ranks sixth in the Giants' San Francisco history in hits and games played.

Of the rumors regarding his possible departure, Aurilia said, "I just wish people would ask before they make a comment about it. I said [Monday] that there was nothing to say [and] 'I'll see you guys tomorrow.' For somebody to speculate on something, it's not right."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.