Furcal's return could be delayed

Times Staff Writer

Rafael Furcal reported feeling no pain in his lower back Tuesday, but Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said the shortstop would "have to do a pretty good sell job" to be moved to the active roster today, the first day he is eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Manager Joe Torre was on the same page as Conte, saying, "I certainly don't want to take a chance of doing the wrong thing. I'd rather bite the bullet here for an extra couple days."

Because Furcal didn't start working out on the field until Monday, Conte said there was uncertainty about how his back would hold up to sustained activity. Conte said he was also worried that because Furcal hasn't played in two-plus weeks, he could pull a hamstring or a calf muscle.

Torre said there was a chance Furcal could be sent on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Said Furcal with a shrug: "We'll see what they decide."


Backup catcher Gary Bennett was put on the 15-day disabled because of pain in the arch of his left foot, his place on the Dodgers' active roster taken by Danny Ardoin, whose contract was purchased from triple-A Las Vegas.

To make room for Ardoin on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers moved pitcher Jason Schmidt to the 60-day disabled list.

Bennett, who made a couple of errant throws last weekend in the Dodgers' three-game series against the Angels, said his heel has been bothering him for the last three weeks.

He has a condition in which the tissue along the bottom of the foot that forms the arch of the heel is strained.

"We're hoping with the 15 days, we can calm this thing down," Conte said.

Ardoin, 33, was batting .303 in Las Vegas, including .404 away from the triple-A affiliate's hitter-friendly Cashman Field.

The Dodgers are Ardoin's 10th big league organization. His most notable moment with the Dodgers came in spring training, when a ball he threw tore a ligament in Andy LaRoche's right thumb. LaRoche, who was competing for the starting job at third base, had to undergo surgery.

Ardoin said he and LaRoche grew close playing together in Las Vegas.

"I apologized 200 times," Ardoin said.


Esteban Loaiza said he still felt some tightness in his right shoulder in his rehab start with Class-A Inland Empire on Monday. Conte said Loaiza would probably make another rehab start before being activated from the disabled list. . . . Delwyn Young will be the fourth outfielder over the next couple of days as Andruw Jones sits to decide whether to undergo surgery on his ailing right knee.



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