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And the beat goes on: Rafael Furcal leaves game with side injury

Rafael-furcal_300 Just when it appeared like the Dodgers were about to resemble something approximating health, bodies start dropping again.

After learning before Friday’s game that right-hander Jon Garland was headed to the disabled list with an inflamed shoulder, they played two innings in Cincinnati when shortstop Rafael Furcal left the game with a left side injury.

Furcal has already missed 37 games this season with a broken thumb. He was so despondent immediately after that injury, he talked about retiring. The Dodgers are now listing him as day-to-day with his unspecified side injury.

Furcal apparently injured his side in the bottom of the second inning after Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen led off with singles. When Fred Lewis missed on a bunt attempt, Bruce wandered too far off second base. Dioner Navarro fired to Furcal, who was covering second. Furcal turned and threw out Bruce, who was trying to advance to third base on the play.

In the Dodgers’ next at-bat in the top of the third, Jamey Carroll hit for Furcal.

This was Furcal’s ninth game since coming back from his broken thumb. After starting one for 22, he had turned things around, with seven hits in his last 13 at-bats.

The Dodgers are expected to get infielder Juan Uribe off the disabled list on Monday. Outfielder Marcus Thames and right-hander Blake Hawksworth are also expected back next week.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal before a batting practice in Colorado. Credit: Rick Giase / EPA

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OK, that's quite enough of Rafael Furcal. I don't know what his contract status is, but I think he's right: he should retire. Jamie Carroll can do the job almost as well.

I know that most sports injuries are freak accidents because I've had a few of them myself. But some people just seem to have more trouble than others, and Furcal is one of those people.

As for Garland, the only reason he's here in the first place is that McScum didn't have the money to get a real arm. Now what Joe Schmo do we call up from triple- or even double-A to fill the roster spot?

Furcal didn't even last the two weeks I thought he would.

'Stuff' happens as they say, but with apologies to Simon & DiMaggio, where have you gone Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey?

As the dudgers med-evac epidemic continues unabated, one cannot but help compare yesteryear Dodgers to dudgers of the current juncture.

Maury Wills played ss until he was 39; for a 12 year period from age 27 when he became a starter through his last full season starting, he averaged playing 149 games a year. Since turning age 30, furcal has played in just 300 of 648 possible games, an average of only 75 games per year up to the minute.

1b Steve Garvey played 1207 consecutive games, averaging 161 games a year over one seven year stretch. loney has missed just 6 games these last 4 years so he's played 1b so he has been consistent too, if not impactful.

Across the diamond 3b Ron Cey averaged 154 games for an eight year period during that same time... his resolve is even more impressive when contrasted with the revolving door at 3b before he arrived, and the one that followed his stretch in LA including the present day likes of blake and uribe, et al.

Sandy Koufax had his career cut short but while he pitched he was relentless: he threw more complete games in just his final season - 27 - than the dudgers top four starters today have in their combined 27 years of pitching (kershaw, billingsley, kuroda and lilly - who has been pitching since 1999 - have just 12 cgs - total - and ALL have visited the DL save for kershaw, 23 (stay tuned.)

Some might argue that it is as apples & oranges to compare eras, but pitchers of another time would throw 200+ pitches in games & it was not the rarity that a complete game by today's pitchers is. And aberrations & exceptions aside, guys didn't succumb to career ending early retirement near as often as they do today to Tommy John surgery, etc. May not be part & parcel causation, but the spectre of steroids/PEDs aftereffect/weening from comes to mind.

I advised against the Furcal re-signing, strongly, for two reasons:

He already owed them more than a season of games from his first contract, but there was no public sign he or his agent had any sense of obligation, and one local pale scribe, the usual wacky values of toy-store writers fixated on sports, had him "wounded in the line of duty" - during the nation's ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a few elsewheres.

Secondly, his body had given ample and convincing testimony it just wasn't up to the job. It was possible he would be relatively healthy for these three years, but highly unlikely - and 30-plus millions a scary wager given the odds.

Two side notes: Ned hadn't a whole lot of better choices, given the consistent pedestrian performance of the Dodger youngsters chosen by the strangely lauded Logan White and Co. (LW's quoted as saying the system needs up-the-middle players this year, and there aren't many to get excited about. Duh....what's he been doing the last eight years?)

Stan Conte was supposed to be a part of fielding a reliable and healthy roster.
For whatever complex of reasons (and, sure, luck plays a role), it hasn't come close to happening. If anything, at least anecdotally, things on that front seem worse.

it's definitely worse. what the heck is conte doing? most of the blame, however, has to fall squarely on idiot ned's shoulders. he signed schmidt when he knew he was hurt. he signed jones even though everyone saw how fat he was getting. he re-signed padilla even though he missed almost have of last season. you'd have thought ned would have learned something after the schmidt fiasco, but no, he signs garland after his MRI showed some bad things. how about mueller? he played about 3 games for us. so many ridiculous signings. reed johnson and his bad back. ned signed him anyway. how many more do we have to list? how about the fat, out of shape uribe? after jones, he then goes and signs uribe? ned will probably have to buy him out too. how about blake? give a four year deal to an over 35 vet with a bad back? i think he signed him just so he could say he got something for santana. when they get rid of frank, ned had better not be far behind.

Can we just get Stan Johnston and Matt Wilson back as Dodger trainers? Conte and Conte, Jr. (yeah nepotism reigns) need to be shown the door.

His contract issues aside, I feel bad for Raffy. He gave us a (so) short reminder there for a couple of games of what it's like when a healthy Rafael Furcal can be the spark at the top of the order for the Dodgers. It really changes everything. Jamey Carroll is a capable defender and a good hitter, but for whatever reason, he just doesn't have the same impact on the lineup that Furcal can. It's too bad his health is betraying him the way it is.

16blows: You are comparing apples to oranges. Today's pitchers are just not handled the way pitchers of the '60's were. The complete game is a rarity and is not even a goal set by pitching coaches and managers. They don't want their pitchers thinking of going 9 innings -- occasionally it just works out that way. Personally, I think pitchers should be encouraged to extend longer -- especially if you've got a bad bullpen and no closer. But then if you don't work in more rest between starts you risk more injured pitchers. But if your strength is your starting pitching, then it only makes sense to leave your starters out there longer.

dud dew: I wouldn't blame it all on Logan White. While there's always some accountability to be shared by the scouting department, it's also true that a fair number of prospects have been traded away by one Mr. Colletti, leaving the farm system relatively light for a while. And while that was going on, it should be noted that in addition to that, the Dodgers didn't have high draft picks or as many draft picks as some other organizations who were noted to have stock-piled draft picks over the last few years. Then on top of that, when White did draft premium talent, the Dodgers sometimes weren't willing to invest the money required to sign that talent, and we lost some of those players back into the pool. In other words, the owner was playing mind games to make it look like he wanted to develop the farm system, but in truth, that was when he was siphoning off the money for himself, and didn't really care about the system. So you can lay the blame on Logan White if you want, but White could only work with the resources he had available.

Frank: Go away.

BlueinAZ said -

"The complete game is a rarity and is not even a goal set by pitching coaches and managers. They don't want their pitchers thinking of going 9 innings -- occasionally it just works out that way."

- evidentiary, but my question remains - 'why not', i.e., why is it so? Lesser injury possibility? Indirectly that's the rationale, yes. Foremost: something more sinister - $. The greater than ever empha$i$ every sport today takes precedence - yet dudger DL results as elsewhere suggests it isn't working as hoped, pitchers or position players, this trying to 'stretch' a commodity.

For every career interrupted or even cut short (Sandy Koufax/Karl Spooner among others before, Stephen Strasberg, etc. latter day), bad mechanics and poor conditioning moreso than workload the culprit, my research & reading; always too, the aspect fate.

It's a matter of return on investment/borrowing against the future as it were: less innings today allows for longer career, least in prayerful principle.

Funny/odd that in this (supposedly) advanced medicinal era of the modern super-duper athlete that one has to look yesterday to find true iron men for the most. I'm not talking about moreso latter day pitchers such as clemens, randy johnson or even jaime moyer who last/linger, and/or others who run on fumes just to reach a stat milestone... I call that greediness.

"Personally, I think pitchers should be encouraged to extend longer -- especially if you've got a bad bullpen and no closer."

- as do I/as you say... how often has it happened that an dudger pitcher is taken out while seemingly coasting only to see the bullpen blow it?

It may not result in better success - although in fact it just might - but why not let the starter win or lose a game on his own merit? Especially younger types like kershaw et al? What are they saving these guys for? Oh, already an$wered that earlier... it might ruin his arm. Right. And it might not too.

Guess we'll never know generally speaking. I note the dudgers let kershaw throw a complete game recently - that makes all of two for his career over four years; baby steps (dudger management had better have a trauma and orthopedic surgeon on speed dial if they pursue such riskiness again.)

"But then if you don't work in more rest between starts you risk more injured pitchers."

- throughout most of the 1960's the Dodgers used a 4- man starting rotation. Those guys (Koufax, Drysdale, Osteen, Podres (others/laters followed) seem to have not suffered unduly, having had careers numbered 12, 14, 18 and 15 years. Today, some teams have even gone with 6-man rotations let alone the 5-man that has been in vogue for years now.

My guess: sometime the future MLB's next great move will be to shorten the game to 7-innings. They'll say the reason is to 'create even more excitement and a sense of immediacy'... I'll call it what it would in fact be: B$.

"But if your strength is your starting pitching, then it only makes sense to leave your starters out there longer."

- exactly, but the monetary ri$k dictates otherwise, obviously; one can only imagine what the current mindset/management would've done with Koufax, Marichal, Maloney, Ryan, Carlton & other 200+ pitches per game 'legends' were they pitching today.

Would an extra year or more of Koufax have been nice? To be sure - but you can't manage fate. Would more sparing use of Koufax et al have been worth a loss some baseball lore? Not for me. Call me sentimental (or even mental)... I prefer my heroes be built upon the sturdy pedestal of integrity, rather wan premise dubbed efficiency.

You use up your gun & bullets and then find another as necessary (unless it's buck$ moreso than game be revered.) You spend your money and take your chances... 'that's life' as Sinatra sang.

Hey Frank....

I got the perfect buyer and perfect name for the new Chavez Ravine.... BAND AID STADIUM... brought to you by the folks at JOHNSON & JOHNSON!!! Heck the name even fits the actual team... if there ever was a team that was put together with spit and glue... this is certainly one for the ages.


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