Dodgers plan to use Garciaparra at short

Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers plan to move Nomar Garciaparra back to shortstop, giving them another option as they learned that injured incumbent Rafael Furcal was expected to sit out at least another three weeks.

Manager Joe Torre said he hoped Garciaparra could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment within the next week.

“The only thing I told him was, with the news with Raffy, go play shortstop,” Torre said.


Garciaparra, a six-time All-Star including five times as a shortstop, has not played the position in three years.

He has not played at all since April 26 because of an injured left calf, his eighth stint on the disabled list in the last five seasons. Torre said the Dodgers would see how Garciaparra responded on his rehabilitation assignment before determining whether he could play there on a full-time basis.

“Let’s wait until he plays some games,” Torre said. “We’ll see where we are at that point in time.

“If he’s healthy, I think that can certainly be a benefit for us. He feels he can [play there], and that’s good enough for us.”

Furcal said he still was experiencing intermittent soreness in his back, five weeks after originally reporting back stiffness.

“I’m disappointed,” Furcal said. “I want to play, but there’s nothing I can do.”

Dr. Robert Watkins, a back specialist, examined Furcal on Sunday and recommended he sit out two more weeks before considering a rehabilitation assignment. Furcal said he would need at least one week in the minors.

“I want to be 100% healthy,” he said. “I don’t want to come back and play for two or three games and then go back to the same place.”