Notes: Recovering infielders work out

Notes: Recovering infielders work out

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Watching Rafael Furcal and Cesar Izturis go through their first day of workouts Friday, it was hard to tell which one will start the season on the disabled list and which one won't.

Furcal, expected to be the starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, was favoring his right knee noticeably when he moved and otherwise was restricted to catching throws during pitchers' fielding practice. He's not ready to swing a bat, take ground balls, run or throw after undergoing knee surgery a month ago.

Meanwhile, Izturis, expected to be sidelined until the All-Star break after undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction, took a full batting practice session and was fielding ground balls after throwing from 40 feet.

"Weird, isn't it?" Izturis said. "I can swing a bat and not feel anything with my elbow. Right-handed, left-handed, doesn't matter. It feels perfect when I swing."

Furcal conceded that his knee is still tender when he moves any faster than a walk, but said he's not concerned about being ready by Opening Day.

"For the first day, I'm happy with the way it feels," he said.

Manager Grady Little met with Izturis before Friday's practice.

"It was good, good for me to talk to him," said Izturis, who hopes to remain a shortstop despite Furcal's arrival. "We didn't talk about position or anything like that. He just said what they've been saying, that a lot can happen between now and when I'm ready. I just have to do my rehab and get 100 percent healthy and then we'll see what happens."

A year later: Brad Penny threw a 35-pitch bullpen session and no fuss was made, which shows how far he's come in a year.

Penny said he's already throwing better at the beginning of this Spring Training than he could at the end of last Spring Training, when his physical condition was a daily issue after the freakish nerve injury he suffered after being acquired in a 2004 trade with Florida. He opened 2005 on the disabled list and didn't make his debut until April 24.

"I'm 100 percent," said Penny, who worked out regularly at Dodger Stadium during the winter, helping account for a 20-pound weight loss. "Last year at this time, I could hardly throw at all. It's a huge difference."

Penny finished with two fastballs at nearly full effort and also threw a few curveballs for the first time since the end of last season.

Joining Penny in bullpen sessions were Odalis Perez, Brett Tomko, Jae Seo, Aaron Sele, Brian Meadows, Joe Beimel, Takashi Saito, Eric Stults, Greg Miller and Jose Diaz.

Miller and Diaz are two of the more intriguing young pitchers in camp. The left-handed Miller, once one of the club's best prospects, is trying to get back on track after two years of shoulder injuries.

Diaz is nicknamed "Jumbo" for obvious reasons. He's listed at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, but maybe the latter numbers were transposed in the media guide. He's a big, big man whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph after 2004 Tommy John elbow reconstruction.

Although Diaz has a frame more like an offensive lineman than a pitcher, Little said he won't be ordering any diets.

"The ball comes out of his hand awfully easy," said Little. "I'm not making any judgments on the guy. We'll give him some guidelines. The man upstairs blessed him with a bad body. The Cy Young winner in the American League (Bartolo Colon) doesn't look so good on the beach in California, but he does a great job facing hitters. That's the No. 1 thing we're looking for. We're not running any modeling contest in hotel lobbies. We want to know if he can get people out."

Although his recovery from elbow surgery limited Diaz to only 17 2/3 innings last year, management thought enough of his ceiling to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He's not yet 22 and he's never pitched above Class A, so chances of him making the club out of camp are almost nil. But Little wouldn't rule out a quick arrival after watching him throw for the first time.

"It's hard to put a timetable on a guy who throws 100 mph," said Little.

Relievers Eric Gagne and Kelly Wunsch, recovering from operations, were able to fully participate in Friday's workout after throwing their first bullpen sessions Thursday.

Hard-luck lefty: Derek Thompson's injury-plagued career took another hit Friday when he underwent elbow surgery in Los Angeles to remove scar tissue, a common side effect to the Tommy John reconstruction he had last July 29.

Thompson, 25, was acquired by the Dodgers in a Rule 5 draft trade three years ago. Since then, he's had three operations on his pitching elbow to go with the multiple surgeries he had previously on his left knee, which contains cadaver cartilage.

He made four appearances with the Dodgers last year, including three starts, and had a 3.50 ERA.

Reporting, not reporting: New additions to Dodgertown Friday were infielder Hee-Seop Choi and outfielder Jason Repko.

Franquelis Osoria cleared up his visa problems in the Dominican and arrived in Florida, but Yhency Brazoban is still absent.

Hitting coach Eddie Murray returned after missing a day on personal business.

The Dodgers also added a catcher, bringing in Minor Leaguer Eric Langill.

Grab your scorecards: Four players returning from last year have changed uniform numbers.

Choi gave up No. 5 to Nomar Garciaparra and will wear No. 18; Ricky Ledee gave up No. 33 to Hall of Famer Murray and will wear No. 21; Dioner Navarro traded in No. 41 for No. 30; Cody Ross swapped from No. 49 (now belonging to Willy Aybar) for No. 54.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.