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Dodgers may need to place Rafael Furcal on disabled list

May 2, 2010 |  3:16 pm
How much longer can the Dodgers operate with a three-man bench?

Not much, it appears. Not really a good idea, either.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal has been unavailable to the Dodgers since he strained his hamstring on April 27.

Although he has yet to go on the disabled list, the Dodgers have had to play their last five games with essentially only three position players available on the bench. Managers have been loath to play a backup catcher -- in the Dodgers' case, A.J. Ellis -- in case they need him behind the plate.

Furcal, however, could be headed for the disabled list.

Manager Joe Torre said Furcal had been showing gradual improvement until Saturday. They shut him down on Sunday and he's scheduled to be re-examined on the off-day Monday.

"We’re going to find out [Monday] what we're going to do," Torre said. "Today he's not doing anything.

"He was feeling better every day, then he sort of stalled [Saturday]. It didn't get worse, it just didn't continue to get better."

Furcal has been taking ground balls hit directly at him, but otherwise hasn't really tested his hamstring.

"When you're a shortstop and have to do all the athletic things he has to do, he has to be 100%," Torre said. "I just explained that to him. So we'll see what it is tomorrow.

"He took that [platelet] shot. That shot has done good things in the past, so [Monday] he could feel real good. At that point I think it's reasonable he's available to us, but I'm not counting on it."

If Furcal is disabled, it would be retroactive to Wednesday. Shortstop Chin-Lung Hu is the leading candidate to be called up if Furcal is disabled.

-- Steve Dilbeck