CHICAGO -- Perhaps it was the rustiness displayed by Rafael Furcal the night before, but Dodgers manager Joe Torre called an audible on Andre Ethier on Wednesday, saying the outfielder would likely serve a Minor League rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list. Ethier is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday. His permission would be needed to be sent on a rehab assignment, which he said he would give. "Wherever they tell me to play, that's where I'll go," Ethier said after taking live batting practice for the second consecutive day in his quick recovery from a broken right little finger.
A day earlier, the Dodgers were considering having Ethier hit in a Saturday simulated game off rehabbing pitcher Vicente Padilla and not go to the Minors. Hours later, Furcal returned from nearly a month on the DL by going 0-for-4 with two errors. Ethier, however, hasn't yet been disabled two weeks. With a splint immobilizing his broken knuckle, he can swing naturally while his finger is still able to heal. "When I said, 'Would you play a game?' He shook his head [yes]," said Torre. "It seems he wants to make sure it's right. I told him to let me know. I watched him hit yesterday, and really there were no restrictions. I thought he was pretty seamless as far as trying to protect it." Torre said he would prefer Ethier go to Triple-A Albuquerque rather than nearby Class A Inland Empire so he could bat against a better quality of pitcher. However, Albuquerque plays at home on Wednesday and Thursday nights, then leaves for a series in Memphis that opens on Friday night. Torre said Ethier has a little ache when he finishes his swings, but it didn't prevent Ethier from sending balls out of Wrigley Field both days. Torre wasn't ready to concede that Furcal's first-game troubles were the result of not playing enough games before he was activated. "Let's wait and see the next couple of games to make that decision," he said. "The jury's still out on that one."