Furcal could need another rehab stint
SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal didn't suffer a setback, per se, in his rehabilitation from a strained left hamstring. Rather, the decision not to activate him from the 15-day disabled list Friday had more to do with the fact that his rehab simply wasn't complete, as evidenced by the fact he continued to feel discomfort when he went through several running drills during the afternoon at Petco Park.
"I ran him pretty hard," Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said. "It was only when I pushed him a little harder that he felt it. He is about 90 percent. It's that last little bit. Hopefully, it's just a couple of days."
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Conte added if Furcal isn't ready to come back any time this weekend, he probably will need to play another minor-league rehabilitation game. In that event, Furcal would join the Dodgers' Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate in Salt Lake City, where it is scheduled to play through Tuesday and where the weather forecast is good for that entire series.
Furcal had planned to play for the Isotopes in Colorado Springs this week, but because of bad weather there, that rehabilitation was switched to high Single-A Inland Empire, where Furcal played six innings defensively in each of two games Tuesday and Wednesday. Dodgers manager Joe Torre said it was while running from first to third in one of those games Furcal first realized he might not be completely well.
"Nothing happened, but he just didn't feel sure," Torre said.
Conte said he noted the lack of conviction in Furcal's voice when the two spoke by phone early Friday.
"Then I grabbed him at the hotel a little later on, and he said he felt it a little bit," Conte said. "I told him a little bit wasn't good."
Torre on Ortiz
Torre says he believes Ramon Ortiz is capable of throwing 100 pitches Friday night, when he will make his first major-league start since May 26, 2007. Ortiz threw 82 pitches in a five-inning relief appearance against Colorado on Saturday night.
"I think it will come down to how much he has to work each inning," Torre said. "His pitch count becomes secondary to what that takes out of you. If he goes through a normal game, I think he could throw 90-100 pitches."
Because of that once-a-year scheduling quirk known as "squeeze week,'' in which three series have to be squeezed into a single week to fit 52 series into a 26-week schedule that also includes a three-day All-Star break in July, the Dodgers will play five of their next seven games against the surprising, division-leading San Diego Padres.
Torre said even though it is early in the season, this is an important stretch for the Dodgers, who came in having won four in a row and nine of their past 12.
"I think you have to try to establish yourself," Torre said. "I think we have to find out who we are, moreso from our side than their side. They went up to San Francisco [earlier this week] and [swept] a good club, which isn't easy to do. I think that is a good indication of the confidence they have right now."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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