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Category: Rafael Furcal

Dee Gordon gets two months to prove Dodgers right

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Relax, have fun, do what you do.

And forget everybody will be watching you over the next two months to determine if you really can be counted upon next year.

Dee Gordon, I have no other advice. Just play your game and let everything fall into place.

View the fact that the next two months are your audition for full-time starting status as the Dodgers shortstop as opportunity and not burden.

Manager Don Mattingly had trouble being quite so specific, at first saying he "didn’t think of it as an audition," then adding, "in a sense I guess he’s auditioning," and then finally, when pressed, admitting it was but he just didn’t like the word.

"It’s like he’s trying out almost, but in a sense these guys are always trying out," Mattingly said. "You want to see who’s going to develop, see who’s going to get better.

"In the course of these two months you get a chance to see. You may see this guy’s still not ready. In a sense, I guess you are auditioning for us."

It makes no sense that it’s anything but an audition. Rafael Furcal is off to St. Louis. Gordon has been called back up. Now he has this time to confirm he is the Dodgers’ shortstop of the future. They need to go into the offseason feeling fairly confident Gordon is ready, or scramble for a quick backup plan.

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It's official: Rafael Furcal goes to Cardinals for minor leaguer

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The Dodgers dealt shortstop Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league prospect Alex Castellanos, a power-hitting outfielder who was playing at double-A Springfield.

Furcal, 33, had cleaned out his locker Saturday evening and was held out of the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Castellanos, who turns 25 next week, was St. Louis' 10th-round draft pick in 2008 and was batting .319 with 19 homers, 62 RBIs and 10 steals in 93 games.

“In Castellanos, we’re getting a player who has shown a combination of power and speed,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. “We hope that he can refine those abilities to a big league standard.”

More coming soon on latimes.com.

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-- Staff and wire reports

Photo: Rafael Furcal is congratulated by Manager Don Mattingly after hitting a two-run home run off Cubs pitcher Randy Wells during a game July 8 at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Rafael Furcal empties his locker, but there is no goodbye

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The locker was empty, save for a lone bat, a pair of sandals and two bottles of lotion. The nameplate above the cubicle had been removed.

Rafael Furcal was gone into the night.

Gone without a goodbye, gone without any explanation, not that any had to be given.

Furcal has reportedly accepted a trade to the St. Louis Cardinals. The 33-year-old, who had been the Dodgers' primary shortstop for the last six years, packed up and left during the Dodgers’ game Saturday night against the  Diamondbacks without a final farewell to teammates.

He had been coy with reporters before the game, not saying whether as a player with 10 years of major league service, including five with the same team, he would approve a trade. He did promise, if jokingly, to talk to the media after the game.

But an emotional man, he elected to avoid the goodbyes and by the middle of the game had carried his bag out of the clubhouse and left Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers career of Furcal was over.

"He’s definitely going to be missed," said Matt Kemp. "He was one of my favorite teammates.

"He played the game the right way. When he was healthy, he was dangerous."

The catch with Furcal, of course, was his being healthy. When he was he was a true catalyst, a leadoff hitter who made the Dodgers go. A terrific all-around player.

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Dodgers blow three-run lead, fall 6-4 to Diamondbacks

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One player going, one player staying, one team headed nowhere.

On a night the Dodgers learned right-hander Hiroki Kuroda would not approve a trade and that shortstop Rafael Furcal reportedly would, they jumped to a 4-1 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And then watched it all come crashing down in a forgettable sixth-inning meltdown by Chad Billingsley, the Diamondbacks rallying for five runs to hand the Dodgers a 6-4 defeat Saturday before an announced crowd of 37,139.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases against Billingsley (9-9) in the sixth on a single and a pair of walks, then he walked a third consecutive batter to force in a run.

Xavier Nady’s fly to right brought in a second run, but one out later Billingsley walked his fourth batter of the inning to load the bases again.

At that point the Dodgers called on reliever Matt Guerrier to face red-hot Justin Upton, who promptly doubled past Matt Kemp in center field to clear the bases.

The Diamondbacks had erased the three-run deficit to take the 6-4 lead.

Billingsley was charged with all six runs, giviing up seven hits and five walks in his 5 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers had fallen behind 1-0 when they scored three times in the third inning. Tony Gwynn Jr. tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Casey Blake.

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Dodgers close to trading Rafael Furcal to St. Louis

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Rafael Furcal might have played his final game with the Dodgers on Friday night.

The Dodgers are closing in on a deal that would send the veteran shortstop to the St. Louis Cardinals, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move hasn’t been finalized.

Furcal is expected to approve the trade. Because he has more than 10 years of major-league service time and spent the last five years with the same team, Furcal has the right to block any trades.

Once the deal is completed, Furcal would have 24 hours to approve it.

Furcal has spent the last six seasons with the Dodgers. He was often injured, playing 150 games only twice. Two trips to the disabled list this season have limited him to 37 games.

Furcal, 33, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is hitting only .197. But he has looked better in the last week, as he is 8 for 22 (.364) with five runs and two steals over his last six games.

The Dodgers are expected to send cash to the Cardinals to help cover a portion of what remains of Furcal’s $12-million salary.

Furcal’s departure would create an opening for top prospect Dee Gordon, who batted .232 in 22 games earlier this season in his first major league call-up.

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-- Dylan Hernandez

Photo: Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal singles in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium last Sunday in a 3-1 victory. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Imagining the Dodgers season without Matt Kemp

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You're traveling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound but … without Matt Kemp.

Oh, no, not that! Anything but that. Too frightening even for Rod Serling.

The Dodgers are ranked 27th in the majors in runs scored. Now imagine them without Kemp.

"Don’t make me think bad thoughts," said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. "We just won a game."

A game won, 9-5, over the Diamondbacks Friday, thanks in no small part to Kemp driving in five runs. He now leads the National League with 80 RBI.

It has been a completely different Kemp from 2010. This Kemp is in shape, focused at the plate and on the field. This Kemp plays with a desire too often lacking last season. This Kemp is putting up MVP numbers.

"I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what he was capable of," Mattingly said. "He came to me and said, 'Last year is not going to happen again.' "

Kemp worked hard in the offseason, lost weight and came to spring intent on putting the previous season behind him.

"It was a disappointing year on the field for me and I didn’t want it to repeat that," Kemp said. "I promised [Mattingly] I would do my best not to let that happen again."

It certainly hasn’t this season. Kemp has been a lonely weapon for the Dodgers. Not that Mattingly has considered where his team would be without him.

"I wonder more about if we had him and Dre [Andre Ethier] kinda doing their thing, Casey [Blake] is healthy, Fuky [Rafael Furcal] is healthy all year and Juan [Uribe] is having the kind of year he’s capable of," Mattingly said.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp reacts after hitting a two-run single against Arizona on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers' trading deadline suspense: A new game to love

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers' Rafael Furcal reacts after being hit by a pitch during the fifth inning of a ame against the Colorado Rockies in L.A. on Tuesday. Credit: Jason Redmond / AP Having fun yet?

Will he? Can he? Should he?

This is something of a new game for the Dodgers, trying to trade a veteran at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline to pick up a prospect. And to maybe dump a little salary.

Will the Dodgers trade right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, shortstop Rafael Furcal or infielder Jamey Carroll prior to Sunday’s deadline? Getting all tingly just thinking about it? For the Dodgers, it’s the only interesting game in town.

The main attraction is Kuroda, who has pitched about as well as humanly possible while building a deceiving 6-13 record. With the Rockies apparently, understandably, wanting a ton for Ubaldo Jimenez, Kuroda has emerged as the No. 1 starting pitcher on the market.

Significant teams are reportedly in on the Kuroda hunt -- Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Indians -- which, of course, doesn’t mean a deal is there to be made.

Rumors fly this time of year, but they are particularly curious and questionable when they involve Kuroda, who is extremely private and borne of a culture where loyalty is paramount.

If anyone else had said they had given their fluid situation little thought before their last start on Wednesday, you would have been unable to suppress uncontrollable laughter. With Kuroda, you probably believe it.

"At this point, I can't imagine myself wearing another uniform," Kuroda said.

And he doesn’t have to, either, being in possession of a full no-trade clause.

Reasons to stay: This is the only major-league team he’s played for, he likes Los Angeles and if he’s to return next season, the Dodgers are his likely destination. Also, he doesn’t have to do any explaining back in Japan.

Reasons to go: To play the final two months of the year for a contender, with a team that actually scores a run once in awhile, before a crowd over 19,000.

And anybody who tells you they know what he’s going to do doesn’t have a clue.

CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler wrote that the Dodgers sent a scout to see 19-year-old third baseman Nick Castellanos, the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2010. He’s one of their top prospects and Knobler said many in the organization doubt they would move him.

Then there’s Furcal and Carroll.

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Dodgers push winning streak to four with 3-2 win over Rockies

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It’s their one-two punch, the best the Dodgers have to offer. Clayton Kershaw on the mound, Matt Kemp at the plate.

It worked just as the Dodgers hoped Tuesday in their 3-2 victory over the Rockies in front of an announced crowd of 50,664 on Fernando Valenzuela bobble-head night.

It was their fourth consecutive victory and fifth in six games. It left them a half-game back of the Rockies for third in the National League West. In 2011, this is called surging.

The Dodgers scored all three runs in the fourth, thanks in large part to some curious outfield defensive play by Colorado.

Rafael Furcal led off the inning against Jhoulys Chacin with a routine fly to left-fielder Ty Wigginton.

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The return of Andre Ethier power hitter in Dodgers' 8-5 victory

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And on a gorgeous Monday evening, there was an Andre Ethier sighting.

That would be two-time All-Star Andre Ethier, not the right-fielder who had been struggling since the break.

Ethier, who was batting .152 (3 for 35) without one RBI since the All-Star break, crushed a two-run homer in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie.

With rookie Rubby De La Rosa allowing only three hits in his six innings, and with the Dodgers surviving a rough ninth inning, they went on to win 8-5 for their third consecutive victory before an announced crowd of 28,860.

De La Rosa (4-4) allowed only three hits, all singles, in his six innings. The three hits came consecutively with two outs in the third, Dexter Fowler’s basehit scoring the Colorado run.

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Chad Billingsley's great reversal does in Nationals, 3-1

Dodgers-blog_640 Oddest great game ever pitched by Chad Billingsley. Talking Bizarro great, Alice in Wonderland great.

Billingsley started Sunday as if he was going to work on the shortest outing of his career. He could do nothing right. He walked his first batter, hit his second and then gave up two singles.

That left the Dodgers down, 1-0, with the bases loaded and still no outs. The only question seemed to be how many body parts Billingsley would leave behind before he was dragged off the mound.

Only then, the strangest thing happened. Clark Kent jumped into the phone booth. Suddenly, bullets bounced off his chest.

Billingsley struck out the side, did not give up another hit and retired 21 of the last 22 batters he faced.

And the Dodgers eked out a 3-1 victory against the Nationals before an announced crowd of 36,458 at Dodger Stadium.

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