There’s bad news on Rafael Furcal and Manny Ramirez


The news turned from bad to worse for the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Rafael Furcal, who felt something in his surgically repaired lower back the previous night, suffered what the Dodgers said was a strained back. He was listed as day to day.

The news wasn’t much better from their spring training complex in Arizona. That’s where trainer Stan Conte watched Manny Ramirez work out and told Manager Joe Torre that the $20-million outfielder probably wouldn’t be ready to start a minor league rehabilitation for another week.

Furcal missed 4½ months of the 2008 season because of a herniated disk that forced him to undergo a midseason operation. Torre treated him with kid gloves last season, removing him from the lineup for day games and making sure he rested regularly.

Torre said Furcal was hurt making a throw in the fifth inning Monday. He was removed from the game in a double switch in the seventh.

“Hopefully, the fact that it just happened and that he felt it on that play, that indicates it’s something that’s not related,” Torre said.

Torre never downplayed the gravity of Furcal’s injury, even hinting he could be out for more than a couple of days.

“If we have to be without him for a while, we have some quality people — not on his level, but we have some quality people,” he said.

Torre categorized the latest development with Ramirez as a setback, as Ramirez was eligible to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday and expected to start a minor league assignment this week.

Weaver to the DL

An explanation finally surfaced for why Jeff Weaver wasn’t pitching as well as he had earlier in the season: left knee tendinitis.

Weaver was replaced on the active roster by Ramon Troncoso, who was sent to triple-A Albuquerque on July 3 to work on his mechanics.

Weaver, who posted a 9.22 earned-run average in his last nine appearances, told Torre that he had been bothered by his knee for a couple of weeks after giving up five runs in two innings Monday.

“I’ve always taken pride in my durability,” said Weaver, who turns 34 this month. “Now I’m coming to grips that I’m getting the point where you can’t work through things the way you used to.”

Torre said he wasn’t upset that Weaver hid his injury.

“You don’t know what he deals with on a regular basis. He’s probably pitched effectively with it too,” Torre said. “I don’t necessarily need guys to tell me about every ache and pain. But when it comes time that it affects your performance, that’s when you want to know.”

No progress with first-round pick

Assistant General Manager Logan White was largely evasive when asked about the Dodgers’ negotiations with first-round draft pick Zach Lee, but he acknowledged the club has not yet made the two-sport star an offer.

A right-handed pitcher and quarterback, Lee is enrolled in summer classes at Louisiana State and taking part in summer football workouts.

“We had some dialogue when we first drafted him, but that’s it,” White said. “We’ve still got time.”

The last day to sign draft picks is Aug. 16.

Asked how hopeful he was of signing Lee, White said, “I feel the same way as when we drafted him.”

White continued to insist that the cost-conscious Dodgers didn’t draft an unsignable player as a way to avoid having to hand out a seven-figure signing bonus.

“We knew it would be perceived that way when we took him,” he said.

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