Furcal hopes to play before break

Times Staff Writers

Rafael Furcal disagreed with his manager’s assessment of his injury Friday, saying the bulging disk in his back was 90% healed and that he was optimistic he could return before the All-Star break, which begins July 14.

“That’s what we’re working for,” said the Dodgers’ shortstop, who has been on the disabled list since May 6.

Manager Joe Torre reiterated that he did not know whether Furcal could complete a minor league rehabilitation assignment in time to rejoin the Dodgers by the break.


“He may be back before the break as far as playing some games,” Torre said. “Whether they’re for us or not is another question.”

Furcal said the discomfort he had recently experienced while jogging had mostly subsided and that he hoped to resume swinging a bat by next week.

Just let me know

Derek Lowe and his agent met with Torre and General Manager Ned Colletti before the game to discuss how the team has used Lowe this season.

The Dodgers have used Lowe twice as an emergency starter, each time starting him one day ahead of schedule. They substituted Lowe for the injured Hiroki Kuroda on Wednesday, but they did not let Lowe know he would start before he completed a conditioning workout Tuesday, one that he usually does two days before a start.

Scott Boras, the agent for Lowe, said the pitcher requested the meeting so he could debunk rumors that he was disenchanted with how the Dodgers have used him.

“Derek’s a good teammate,” Boras said. “Whenever the team has needs, he wants the team to come to him first.”

Said Torre: “Derek’s a team guy. We like to have a player’s input. We want to make sure to see if there is any problem.”

Lowe is eligible for free agency this fall, and Colletti has said he has not ruled out bringing him back.

Not keeping tabs

Torre blamed himself for failing to adequately monitor the shoulder injury that landed Kuroda on the disabled list Thursday, about three weeks after the right-hander said he started feeling discomfort in the area.

“If I had paid more attention or inquired a little bit more, I probably would have known sooner,” said Torre, who noted that Kuroda often gave him a thumbs-up sign when the manager asked how he felt after his starts.

But Kuroda said he was getting treatment on the shoulder and had been prescribed painkillers by the trainers, so he assumed Torre knew about the discomfort. An interpreter finally approached Torre on Tuesday to tell him that Kuroda wanted to speak with him about the pain.

Kuroda said he had experienced a similar injury in Japan and did not believe it was serious. Both Kuroda and Brad Penny, recovering from tendinitis in his right shoulder, are scheduled to play catch today.

Short hops

Torre said center fielder Andruw Jones “looked very comfortable” Friday when he took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the disabled list last month because of a knee injury. Torre estimated that Jones could return around the All-Star break. . . . Nomar Garciaparra’s physical therapist recommended that the shortstop cease baseball activities for 10 days to rest the strained right calf that flared up earlier this week.