PITTSBURGH -- Shortstop Rafael Furcal reached base three times Wednesday night, twice on walks, and stole two bases. That's the most obvious sign yet that he's a different player this year from the one last year that was still healing from a 2008 back surgery. He stole two in a game only once last year.
"I'm comfortable and it's way different when you feel healthy, 100 percent," said Furcal. "Everything comes easy. But when you feel something bothers you, you think about something going wrong when you try to do something. Last year was a disappointment. I stole only 12 bases. I used to steal 30 every year. Like I told you, I was afraid last year because I didn't want to get hurt. Now I'm 100 percent, I feel good and everything's different."
Furcal thinks the walks can be just as telling as the stolen bases.
"This year I'll try to be more patient," he said. "I swing at too many 2-0 and 3-1 pitches. This year, I will concentrate a little more on seeing more pitches. That will help me be confident."