Dodgers must choose between Charlie Haeger and Claudio Vargas

Reporting from Boston — Charlie Haeger or Claudio Vargas?

That’s the choice the Dodgers probably will be forced to make in the coming days about who will make an emergency start for them Thursday, Manager Joe Torre said.

The pitchers’ numbers don’t give the Dodgers much cause for encouragement.

Haeger, who started the season as the fifth starter, had an 8.53 earned-run average when the Dodgers put him on the 15-day disabled list because of a dubious case of plantar fasciitis. The injury was the same one former backup catcher Gary Bennett happened to develop two years ago when a case of the yips made him unable to deliver the ball back to the pitcher normally.

Vargas, who was signed to a minor league contract last week, had a 7.32 ERA when he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers this month. The affable 32-year-old started last year with the Dodgers, only to be traded to the Brewers for a non-prospect who is no longer in their system.

Haeger appears to be the likely choice to make the start, considering he pitched six scoreless innings Sunday for triple-A Albuquerque.

Vargas’ 17 appearances for the Brewers this season were all in relief, and he pitched only three innings for Albuquerque last week.

Me? Hurt?

If Carlos Monasterios is hurt, it’s news to him.

Monasterios was put on the disabled list Saturday because of a blister and split nail on his pitching hand.

How’s the blister?

“It doesn’t affect me,” Monasterios said.

What about the nail?

“There’s nothing wrong with the nail,” he said.

Monasterios was charged with 10 runs in the 6 2/3 innings he pitched over his last two starts. Because he was a Rule 5 draft pick, the Dodgers couldn’t send him to the minor leagues without risking losing him to his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Baseball rules prevent teams from stashing healthy players on the disabled list, but Torre defended the move.

“Is it there or is it not?” Torre asked, referring to the blister. “It’s not like I’m making up something. It’s there.”

Green light still on

Matt Kemp is stealing bases at a 50% clip, as he is 10 for 20 on steal attempts.

But Torre said he has no plans to take away the green light from Kemp, who stole a combined 69 bases over the last two seasons.

“He’s going to have to get a feel,” Torre said. “I’ve had players over the years that are instinctive players. You pretty much have to leave them on their own because if you tell them to steal, they’re going to force it, and I don’t think they’re going to have the same jump.”

Furcal expected back this week

Rafael Furcal’s father died early Sunday, three weeks after being kicked by a horse. Furcal is on the bereavement list and back in his native Dominican Republic.

Torre said Furcal is expected back in the middle of this week.

“Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of experience with this,” Torre said, referring to players’ losing parents.

Torre pointed out that Paul O’Neill’s father died during the 1999 World Series.

A return to the field can help a grieving player, Torre said.

“Sometimes they can hide,” Torre said. “They can get out on the field and not think about the personal stuff.”

Short hops

Reed Johnson shaved his Fu Manchu mustache... The Dodgers signed third-round draft pick Leon Landry and fourth-round pick James Baldwin III. First-round pick Zach Lee remains unsigned.

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