Red-hot Furcal given some rest

Red-hot Furcal given some rest

LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal, the National League's leading hitter, with a .326 average, was given most of Sunday off to get some rest.

"He said he's OK, but he's been playing a lot, and I just didn't want to push it," manager Joe Torre said before the game. "He's available."

In a pinch-hit appearance, Furcal flied out to foul territory by right field in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 1-0 win over the Mets.

Xavier Paul started at leadoff and in left field, and Jamey Carroll, batting second, started at shortstop.

Right fielder Andre Ethier returned to the lineup, batting fifth, after having a day off on Saturday. He went 1-for-3 with an opposite-field double, and also grounded into a double play.

Torre said that he had a closed-door meeting with Ethier, who has looked frustrated at the plate, before the game. A questionable check-swing, strike-two call on Ethier by third-base umpire CB Bucknor in the 12th inning on Saturday, with the winning run on third and one out, swung the momentum of an at-bat that ended with a foul popup.

"They're pitching around him and stuff," Torre said. "You can't go up there with that attitude. You still have to go up there with a plan."