Rafael Furcal has lower back strain
LOS ANGELES -- An MRI exam on Rafael Furcal showed that the Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop had a lower back strain. Furcal is listed as day to day, meaning that at least for now, he will avoid the disabled list, but manager Joe Torre said that Furcal, who didn't play in Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres, won't play in Wednesday night's game with the Padres, either.
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Furcal has had previous back issues in his career, including a back problem in 2008 that caused him to miss four months and required microdiscectomy surgery. But this latest problem, which occurred when Furcal felt discomfort after lunging for a ball hit to his right in the fifth inning of Monday night's loss to the Padres, doesn't appear to be related to that.
"I'm glad to hear that, especially with his history of back problems,'' Torre said.
The diagnosis was made by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins after Watkins examined the results of the MRI Furcal underwent on Tuesday afternoon.
Jamey Carroll replaced Furcal in the starting lineup Tuesday. Carroll got most of the starts at shortstop while Furcal was on the disabled list for a month earlier this season with a strained left hamstring. Carroll went 1-for-3 in the Dodgers' 2-1 win on Tuesday.
Losing Furcal for an extended period would be a major blow to the Dodgers, a team whose playoff hopes already appear to be hanging by the thinnest of threads. Furcal is hitting .316 with a .380 on-base percentage for a team that has collectively hit the skids on offense.
"There are too many games left to say, 'That's it, we're done,'" Torre said. "We can't do that. We've got to find a way to do it. Hopefully, that isn't the case, but if we know we're going to be without him for a while, we have some quality people to take his place."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.