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Furcal needs more recovery time

Furcal needs more recovery time

LOS ANGELES -- After suffering a setback in his return from a back injury on Thursday, Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal will not accompany the team on its trip to Chicago and New York next week.

Manager Joe Torre and trainer Stan Conte said the long plane flights provide the main reason for keeping Furcal grounded.

"Unless they move New York closer between now and Thursday, I'm not really certain that he'll make that," Conte said.

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The shortstop will stay behind to get treatment and take part in a stabilization exercise program designed to make his back stronger. Third baseman Nomar Garciaparra will head to the 60-day disabled list to make room for outfielder Terry Tiffee, who will be called up for Andruw Jones as the outfielder heads for surgery. Garciaparra will also stay in Los Angeles for tests on his injured left calf, which has yet to be definitively diagnosed.

Furcal met with spine specialist Robert Watkins on Friday, who Conte said described the latest setback as a "flare up."

"You have to make sure, and I warned him all along that until you get on the field and are able to be that person just don't even try it," Torre said. "He's really one of those guys that needs to be 100 percent because of the position he plays and how he plays. He needs every movement and quickness and all that stuff to be perfect pretty much."

In other injury news, pitcher Jason Schmidt threw a bullpen session Friday in Phoenix and is scheduled to pitch Monday for Class A Inland Empire.

After throwing 34 pitches and giving up just one hit in 2 1/3 innings on May 17 for Inland Empire, Schmidt is expected to throw about 45 pitches depending on how the game goes.

"We are going for the Cal League Pitcher of the Week this time," Conte joked.

Backup catcher Gary Bennett, disabled with plantar fasciitis, leaves Sunday for extended Spring Training in Vero Beach, Fla., to work on his mental block returning throws to the mound. Bennett is expected to play games there before taking an official Minor League rehab assignment.

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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