ST. LOUIS -- Struggling Dodgers reliever George Sherrill said Thursday he's undecided about accepting a Minor League assignment from the club if, as expected, he clears outright waivers.
"That's kind of a tough one. It just depends," said the left-hander. "If you could tell me it would be 10 days, but you never know. I could be out of sight, out of mind, and be stuck there. I could figure out [what's wrong] and still be stuck there. I have to make sure every 'T' is crossed.
"I told them I'd think about it. And I know with Belly [Ronald Belisario] not here, there's more of an urgency to have a guy in the seventh to get to [Hong-Chih] Kuo to get to [Jonathan] Broxton."
With Belisario on the restricted list for what has been reported to be substance abuse treatment, Sherrill said club officials sounded him out about whether he would accept such an assignment. Sherrill said he's been in touch with his agent to understand his options.
He's also still a pitcher for the Dodgers. Even though he's been placed on outright waivers, he entered Thursday night's game in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Dodgers trailing, 7-1. He retired Brendan Ryan on a soft fly to right, struck out Felipe Lopez, then allowed a pinch-single to Randy Wynn before giving way to Jon Link with Albert Pujols coming up.
Assuming no club claims Sherrill (and the remainder of the $4.5 million contract that goes with him), once he clears those waivers the Dodgers can attempt to outright him to the Minor Leagues. Sherrill, as a player with five years of service time, can accept the assignment, decline the assignment or choose free agency. The last option would void his contract and is extremely unlikely. If he declines the assignment, he remains on the roster unless the club releases him.
Sherrill, 33, has struggled since the beginning of Spring Training and has been replaced by Kuo as the primary eighth-inning setup man for closer Broxton. Sherrill has a 7.08 ERA in 20 1/3 innings and has been relegated to a situational left-handed reliever role.
Almost one year ago the Dodgers acquired Sherrill, who was Baltimore's All-Star closer, and he allowed only two earned runs in 30 appearances.
"Obviously, it's not going the way I hoped," he said. "I really feel I can get guys out. I've gone through these mechanical things before and I usually progress gradually, but this year it's been one thing on top of another on top of another. Today I threw a bullpen and they said I was sliding my heel all of a sudden in my delivery. I've never done that in my life.
"Right now, they're using me to get left-handers out and I make too much money just to get lefties, but I'm OK with it. Right now, I'm here until they tell me I'm not and hopefully that's the whole season."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.