PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal has taken the padding off his healing broken left thumb, but manager Don Mattingly said Furcal won't be sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment until he's able to swing right-handed without discomfort.
"He still feels something right-handed, so the earliest is Thursday or Friday," Mattingly said. "I don't want him going out until he's not feeling that anymore. I don't want him to push it and do something that sets him back. It's not something I'm concerned about, he's just not ready."
Furcal took batting practice left-handed for the third consecutive day Monday and took infield as well. Once he's able to play in Minor League games, Furcal said he'll only need a handful of contests to be ready, because the rest of his body is in game condition.
Jamey Carroll has done another standout job filling in for Furcal. Carroll had three hits both Saturday and Sunday vs. the Mets, raising his average to .311 while committing only three errors. But Furcal gets the big money, because, when he's healthy and fulfilling his potential, he can be an offensive catalyst and a game-changing defender.
"Jamey has done a great job, and with [Aaron] Miles given us a lot at the top of the order," said Mattingly. "But he's not Fukey, a switch-hitter with speed and energy. He makes us go. We've definitely missed him. But he's got to be ready to play."