All the good feeling that came from the Dodgers' series opening win over the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco is gone. The Dodgers are 6-4 and have beaten their rivals in four of five games this season, but they may have lost their shortstop. Rafael Furcal broke his thumb in tonight's win, while sliding headfirst into third base in the fifth inning.
Furcal remained in the game, playing in the field for two more innings, but he was removed for pinch hitter Aaron Miles in the top of the seventh. The news of Furcal's thumb broke after the game, and this tweet from Dylan Hernandez sounds ominous, and hopefully was something only said out of frustration by Furcal:
Furcal has a broken finger. Said he's pondering retirement.
UPDATE (11:32pm): Based on various postgame reports (Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Tony Jackson of ESPN LA, and Hernandez via Twitter), Furcal was indeed speaking out of frustration, a mood Gurnick described as "despondent."
Furcal was already battling an injured left wrist that has hampered him while swinging a bat, and he missed the last two games. The timetable for Furcal's return is not yet known, but it seems like Jamey Carroll is now the regular shortstop, and the Dodgers will likely promote another middle infielder once Furcal is placed on the disabled list. Will the club recall Ivan DeJesus, who struggled in his very brief stint in the opening week this season, or will Juan Castro, currently in Triple A Albuquerque, become a Dodger for the fourth time? Castro, unlike DeJesus, is not on the 40-man roster.
Furcal has a $12 million club option for 2012 that would automatically vest with 600 plate appearances this season. In addition, Furcal could earn an extra $1.3 million, either added as an option buyout or to his 2012 base salary if the option is exercised, with 1,600 combined plate appearances from 2009-2011. After tonight's game, Furcal is 464 plate appearances shy of that mark.
Furcal has averaged 94 games played and 424 plate appearances for the Dodgers over the last three seasons.