The Dodgers have activated shortstop Rafael Furcal from the disabled list after he missed 37 games with a broken left thumb, suffered when sliding into third base headfirst on April 11 in San Francisco. Furcal had struggled in the early part of the season, with five hits in 26 at-bats, and hit .192/.250/.231 in seven games. To make room for Furcal, the Dodgers have placed Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
Furcal was 5-for-13 with a double and a home run in four games with his rehab assignment with Triple A Albuqerque, though he did injure his left knee during a slide in the fourth game, an injury that only seems par for the course for the 2011 Dodgers. Furcal arrived in Chicago on Saturday and tested the knee twice in workouts before and after Saturday's game per Tony Jackson of ESPN LA.
In Furcal's absence, Jamey Carroll started 34 games at shortstop, with Uribe starting the other three games. The leadoff spot in the batting order was spread around a little more, with Carroll starting 21 of the 37 games at the top of the order (including 15 of the last 18 games), with Tony Gwynn starting nine times and Aaron Miles batting leadoff seven times. Dodger leadoff hitters are hitting .236/.290/.281, only Washington has a lower batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS out of their leadoff spot among National League teams this season.
Uribe is the 12th different Dodger to be placed on the disabled list this season. He strained his left hip flexor muscle Friday night in Chicago, and left the game on defense in the seventh inning. Uribe hasn't yet been on the DL this season, though he was held out of the startling lineup for five straight games last month with tightness in his left thigh. Uribe has started 38 of 47 games this season, mostly at third base but has also played second base and shortstop, and has hit .220/.293/.333 with three home runs and 20 RBI this season.
Furcal has a $12 million club option for 2012 that will vest if he accumulated 600 plate appearances this season. Furcal can also earn the right to void that option if he reaches 625 plate appearances in 2011. However, Furcal has 28 plate appearances so far this season, and if he starts all remaining 115 games this year he would need 572 PA to reach 600, or 4.97 per game. Furcal has started 568 games in just over five seasons in Los Angeles, averaging 4.68 PA per game, so it is extremely unlikely that Furcal's 2012 option will vest.
A bonus Furcal remains in line for is a $1.3 million bonus for accumulating 1,600 plate appearances from 2009 to 2011. Furcal totaled 1,108 PA in the last two seasons, so he needs 492 PA this season, or 464 more (on average, roughly 99 Furcal starts). The bonus will either be an option buyout, or added to his 2012 base salary if the option is exercised.
The Dodgers have fielded their planned opening day infield of James Loney, Uribe, Furcal, and Casey Blake for just two games this season.
It turns out that there was nothing to Rubby De La Rosa getting pulled yesterday from his start after two innings. Dodgers Assistant GM Dejon Watson said told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that it was simply a scheduled break for De La Rosa. (Thanks to Julio Nievas for the link)