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Key to turning around Dodgers' offense could be return to form by Rafael Furcal


OK, going out on a limb here, I'll say that the Dodgers' formula for turning their season around is not going to depend on collecting 17 hits and having their starting pitcher throw a two-hit shutout every game.

That was all swell Sunday, but figures to come around as often as Halley's comet.

But what can be taken away from Sunday as a small ray of hope was the play of shortstop Rafael Furcal.

He's been MIA for most of the season, either simply from his poor play early or because of his more recent struggles since returning from his broken thumb.

On Sunday, he was the old Furcal, going three for five with three RBIs and two runs.

"Spring training is over," Furcal said.

Furcal missed 37 games after breaking his left thumb. After a few days working out at Dodger Stadium, he went on a rehab assignment with triple-A Albuquerque. Team officials wanted him to get close to 30 at-bats at Albuquerque, but when infielder Juan Uribe was hurt, they called him up after just 16 at-bats.

Then he started his comeback by going one for 22.

"For me it's tough when you're losing like six weeks of the season, then you're not available to swing the bat," Furcal said. "Then take just three days and go to minor leagues, and play only four games and take 15 at-bats, and then come back. It's the big leagues; when you come to the big leagues, you have to be ready for it."

He wasn't early on, but is showing signs of it now. Sunday marked his second consecutive multi-hit game.

"He's our spark plug," said Matt Kemp. "We get him going, then we have a dangerous lineup. It's good to see him swing the bat well the way he has the last couple of days. It's a good sign for us. And we got Casey Blake back too.

"We're going to start putting up more runs when those guys all hit."

Furcal, 33, has five hits in his last nine at-bats, including a two-run homer Sunday.

As their leadoff hitter, there is probably no one whose return to form is more important to the Dodgers than Furcal. Which he clearly understands.

"When we lose the game by one or two runs, it's a very tough day for me," he said. "I cannot sleep, because I think we're losing because of me not getting on base."

That's a lot of lost sleep. His extended spring training over, he how hopes for more restful nights. The Dodgers do too.


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal is congratulated by pitcher Clayton Kershaw after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Florida Marlins on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (8)

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Furcal is back but lets not forget what Jaime Carroll did. Can't ask any more from a leadoff hitter.

Hope he continues - makes plays at ss, hits near or above .300.

Its not only great for him, but it keeps the buck-50 and two bills hitters out of the lineup too. When the team is healthy enough and hitting well enough to keep Carroll out of the starting lineup, then our offense will be decent. But won't be before then.

Jamey Carroll is the best value on this team. And he was MVP worthy for this club last year. So far this year, he's MVP worthy again. You can't say enough about the job he's done.

What are you smoking? Ned Colletti will make another trade which will ultimately hurt the franchise. Frank McCourt will try to cut payroll by trading Kuroda. The bullpen will continue blowing up games in the 9th inning. Rafael Furcal will get hurt once again.

Agree with Dahaus about Carroll - he's a professional and plays like it.

To be sung to the melody from Carousel's "June Is Busting Out All Over":

Bats are busting out all over,

Even Raffy's in the swing...

I am disgusted with all of this Furcal worship that never ends. The majority of the time in the lineup. the goon spends his at-bats swinging for the fences instead of working like a leadoff man should. If he is such a weapon for this team, where has he been the last...six? years? The goon spent more time on the DL than Osama Bin Laden spent in hiding! STIFF! Remember his magnificent return in '08 when he came off the DL against the Phillies in the second round of the playoffs? What was that, three errors in two plays? The guy works magic until it matters, then he is a worthless goon. Even though I think Jamie Carrol is a worthless excuse for a AAA player, Furcal STILL owes Carrol a sizable chunk of his salary from the last two years. SOOOO sick and tired of the stupid Furcal cheerleaders...the guy has been an over-payed DL case from day one. If you are a Dodgers fan, you will bemoan this loser and how much money he has stolen from us while sitting on the couch.

Is "Sangre Azul" some foreign phrase for "Pollyanna?"

The key to turning the offense around is:

Get a GM with two brain cells to rub together. Colletti is a G'nat castoff without the skills to be a major (or minor for that matter) league GM.


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