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The Uphill Battle Continues: Rafael Furcal to DL

Rafael Furcal, who last played April 27 in New York, appears headed to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.  Nick Green, who was removed from tonight's Triple A Albuquerque game in Memphis in the sixth inning, a more natural shortstop than Jamey Carroll, is expected to take Furcal's place on the roster.

This weekend, manager Joe Torre explained that Rafael Furcal was feeling better with rest every day until Saturday.  Furcal had an injection of platelet-rich plasma last week, intended to speed up the healing process, but it looks like it didn't work that way.  Furcal had his scheduled workout today at Dodger Stadium in front of coaches and trainers, but apparently he didn't pass the test.

Green had a secondary opt-out clause in his minor league contract, such that he could declare himself a free agent is he wasn't added to the roster by May 15 (reported by Tony Jackson of ESPN LA in early April).  If Green is added to the roster, a corresponding move will have to be made, likely Cory Wade moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Chin-Lung Hu wasn't exactly hitting the ball -- .231/.265/.246 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League -- but he is at least equal defensively to Green, and has the advantage of already occupying in 40-man roster spot.  But the taint of Hu's .181/.252/.233 performance filling in for Furcal in 2008 is something he will likely never live down.

The earliest date Furcal can return from the disabled list is May 14.  More troubling for the Dodgers is that this is just the latest injury to a key player, not something an 11-14 team needs.

Key Dodgers on the DL
Player Expected Return Date
Jeff Weaver Friday
Manny Ramirez    Saturday
Rafael Furcal May 14 (at earliest)
Vicente Padilla sometime in June

Green will join Weaver, Garret Anderson, and Dos Ortiz as the fifth non-roster signee to make the Dodgers this season.  Green's contract calls for a salary of $550,000 (which will be pro-rated) during his time in the major leagues.