Ready or not, Casey Blake was back in the Dodgers' starting lineup.

After starting just twice in the previous 13 games because of ongoing neck stiffness, and being limited to pinch-hitting duties in the past five, Blake started at third base Sunday. He went 0 for 4, but handled a couple of tough defensive plays and said he plans to stay in the lineup.

"I'm going to try," he said. "... I didn't have to make a bare-handed play, which was good. Pop-ups still aren't a lot of fun, but I only had one pop-up. Overall I was pretty happy."

Blake said it wasn't so much that the neck was better as a case of "trying not to think about it so much."

Manager Don Mattingly said Blake, team doctors and trainer Stan Conte "were just really to the point where they're like, 'Let's go for this thing,' and kind of play him and see what happens.

"There's a possibility it could go backwards and get to a point where we have to DL him, but at this point, we're going to put him out there and what we get."

Jonathan Broxton's planned trip to Rancho Cucamonga to pitch on Sunday was scratched after Broxton felt some stiffness in his elbow while playing catch Saturday.

"It kind of tells you he's not ready," Mattingly said. "He kind of felt stiffness in the same spot."