Furcal has setback; Jones better
Garciaparra searching for answers on balky calf muscles
LOS ANGELES -- Disabled Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal suffered a setback in his recovery from a back injury and was not activated on Friday, but center fielder Andruw Jones reported improvement with his injured knee and was available for limited duty.
Manager Joe Torre said Furcal, who had hoped to be in Friday night's starting lineup, awoke on the off-day Thursday with renewed lower back stiffness. Furcal had a strenuous workout on a cold Wednesday night.
"I don't think we're all the way back to square one, but it's certainly a setback," said Torre. "He'll consult again with Dr. [Robert] Watkins, and they'll make a decision. I don't know about him flying to Chicago and New York unless it's just something that turns around quickly."
Furcal has been disabled since May 6, missing 15 games. Last year, he suffered a similar injury and missed the last 12 games of the season.
"Backs are incredibly unpredictable," said trainer Stan Conte. "He's moving pretty good, but he still has the discomfort. You'd have to still put him day-to-day."
Jones has been out since last weekend with partially torn cartilage in his right knee. He worked out on the off-day at Dodger Stadium, reported limited swelling and discomfort and will dial up the work load to see if he can put off surgery until the offseason.
"For right now, if I play and it irritates and swells up, I'll shut it down and get it done," Jones said. "We'll see what happens. When I start playing, I don't know what's going to happen."
Torre said he would use Jones sparingly in the weekend series with the Cardinals, as a pinch-hitter and a defensive replacement, before returning him to the lineup on next week's trip. Torre indicated that if Jones' knee flares up again, immediate surgery is likely. The concern is that the knee will be like a time bomb that could go off with the slightest wrong movement.
"We've had players in the past ... who have had a problem like this and done OK throughout the whole season," said Conte. "Hopefully, he's going to fall into that category, but there's no doubt he has a small tear in the cartilage, and that can be problematic at any time."
Meanwhile, disabled third baseman Nomar Garciaparra said he still doesn't have a definitive diagnosis after a consultation Thursday with vascular surgeon Dr. Fred Weaver and will undergo further tests next week to rule out possible conditions. Garciaparra said he was told he's in a "gray area" whether his repeated calf muscle pulls are the result of "compartment syndrome," a tightening of the tissue surrounding the muscle that creates added pressure.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.