Subdued Furcal returns to Dodgers' lineup

Subdued Furcal returns to Dodgers' lineup

ANAHEIM -- A subdued Rafael Furcal returned to the lineup Tuesday, still shaken from the Sunday death of his father, but grateful that the Dodgers allowed him to travel to the Dominican Republic for a final goodbye.

Furcal's father was hospitalized a month ago after being kicked in the chest by a horse on the family farm. It was only after Furcal sent his wife to check on his father's progress 10 days ago that he learned his father probably would not survive the internal injuries to vital organs and infections that had set in.

"My mother and brother didn't tell me how bad it was, they didn't want to tell me while I was playing," said Furcal. "But the doctors explained to my wife that if I wanted to see him alive, I had to get there. Thank God to the Dodgers for letting me go for the last three days of his life.

"When I got there, he looked so bad. But he saw me and was so happy, he tried to get up, but couldn't because of the surgery. He was waiting for me, I think."

Three days after that visit, Furcal's father died of pneumonia and complications from the injuries. That was early Sunday morning. He was buried that afternoon and Furcal pulled out his cellphone to show a photo of his father in an open casket.

"He was a pretty good baseball player, they told me," said Furcal. "He always told me and my brother, we could play baseball, but we had to go to school first. He was 79. He was never sick, ever.

"But when I saw him, he was so skinny. I cried when I saw him, I hugged him. He told me not to cry. He said life is like that. He told me when I was a kid, the only time you see me sick is when I'm going to die. He said I gave him everything he needed, I made him happy, supporting everybody and taking care of everybody. He told me not to cry, to keep going because life is like that."

Furcal was activated off the bereavement list Wednesday and Chin-lung Hu was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque.