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Dodgers activate Rafael Furcal and start him; A.J. Ellis called back up

September 3, 2010 |  4:26 pm

Rafael Furcal, bad back and all, returned to the Dodgers on Friday and was immediately inserted back in the lineup.

Furcal, currently scheduled to be the highest-paid Dodger next season ($13 million), has continued to battle injuries this season.

He has appeared in only 76 of the Dodgers’ 134 games. He last played on Aug. 2 before straining his lower back. He also missed most of May because of a sore hamstring.

He hit a home run in his final rehab game at triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday.

When Furcal has played this year, however, he has been the shortstop the Dodgers envisioned when they signed him to a three-year, $30-million contract after the 2008 season.

Furcal made the All-Star team, and might have been their most valuable player when healthy. He’s hitting .316, with eight home runs, 39 RBIs, 57 runs, 20 doubles and 18 stolen bases in 307 at-bats.

The Dodgers also made their first September call-up, bringing catcher A.J. Ellis back for a third time. Ellis is batting .208 in 27 games.

-- Steve Dilbeck