Before today's game with the Angels, manager Don Mattingly said shortstop Rafael Furcal would begin a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, perhaps as soon as Sunday. Mattingly liked the option of the designated hitter in the California League, so Furcal could continue to get as many at-bats as possible, even when not playing the field.
As far as what position Furcal will be playing, that hasn't yet been fully decided. Mattingly said today that he spoke out of turn on Friday when he mentioned Furcal could play second base when he returns. It was something Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti were discussing, but no decision had been made and, more importantly, nobody yet told Furcal, so he first learned of it when reporters asked him about playing second base.
Mattingly said that while Furcal would do anything for the team, he sensed hesitation in the shortstop even if he wouldn't admit it. At this point, it seems too early to determine what position Furcal will play once he returns, whenever that is. There is no set timetable for his return, and that Furcal will be given all the time he needs before being activated.
Then, there is the issue of where Furcal plays when he returns. Dee Gordon has impressed at times in his brief time at shortstop, but he's also hitting just .246/.270/.295 with two walks and 14 strikeouts in 64 plate appearances. Mattingly noted the struggles of Gordon, currently in a 1-for-19 slump, as he is facing major league pitching for the first time. "They throw strikes here," Mattingly said. "They're going to force him to swing the bat."
- In other injury news, Marcus Thames had an MRI this morning which showed a strained left calf. Thames was working with trainer Stan Conte this morning, and the club will make a decision on a roster move, if any, after the game. When asked who would be the more likely call up, Jerry Sands or Trayvon Robinson, Mattingly was noncommittal, saying only that he and Colletti have talked about a few different players.
- The plan for Jonathan Broxton, who will throw two games with Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday and Monday, is for a return next Friday, when the Dodgers are in Anaheim
- Mattingly mentioned the designated hitter, available to the Dodgers for six games next week, could help Casey Blake, who wouldn't have to play the field but could still bat four times per game. However, it is unknown whether the pinched nerve in his neck will allow for such a thing, and he is another wait-and-see before making any potential roster decision.
- Rod Barajas was working out with trainers before the game, and he is still on track to return on or about the first day he is eligible, which is Monday, July 4, when the Dodgers open a series with the Mets.
Game Time: 1:10 p.m.