Dodgers work to get Furcal's back stronger

Dodgers work to get Furcal's back stronger

PHILADELPHIA -- With Rafael Furcal's back, the Dodgers never know.

Before Tuesday night's game, they thought the shortstop was finally healthy enough to play after missing a week with lower back soreness. By the end of the night, he was on the disabled list for the second time this year and the fourth time in his five seasons with the club.

Furcal said he can throw without discomfort, but not field grounders or swing the bat, and he hasn't even tried running. Because of retroactive dating, Furcal could return from the 15-day DL as early as Aug. 18.

Juan Castro, originally signed by the Dodgers 19 years ago, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Albuquerque for his third stint with the club. The 38-year-old Castro arrived during batting practice Wednesday, carrying a Phillies equipment bag, having been released by the Dodgers' current opponent July 17.

"This is not any kind of setback," manager Joe Torre said of Furcal. "He's OK, but to the point of probably it's not safe to send him out to play nine innings. He's got to play at 100 percent. His game is quickness, the ability to cover ground. His health is more important than some guy swinging the bat and running hard, but not fast."

Trainer Stan Conte said the area that bothers Furcal is the same area that was operated on in 2008 for a herniated disk, but an MRI revealed no further disk problem.

"But everything's connected," Conte said. "He is better, just not better enough. We run the risk of putting him out there and then we lose the retro days. If we get him stronger now, it's more likely he comes back without a problem."