Days off coming for Furcal, Martin
Torre implementing spring plan to rest Dodgers regulars
SAN DIEGO -- It always sounds good in Spring Training when the manager says he'll give this key guy so many days off and that key guy so many days off, then the season starts, and those key guys are playing every day with no days off.
But Dodgers manager Joe Torre spoke freely this spring about giving Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin extra rest this season and Torre said it starts in Thursday's day game, when Furcal will be replaced at shortstop by Blake Dewitt, who has never played the position professionally.
The plan continues Friday in Arizona, when Martin will be replaced behind the plate by Brad Ausmus.
"I talked to Raffy and with the seven o'clock [Wednesday night start PT] and the 12:30 [p.m. Thursday start] turnaround, I'd rather do it now, even though he doesn't need it this early," Torre said of Furcal, who is coming off last season's back surgery.
"He'll play Saturday [5:10 p.m.] and Sunday [1:10 p.m.]. The weekend start times, it's not as tough a turnaround. We'll do it once a week. If we've got an off-day, it may not be. When it happens, it'll be a day game after a night game. I asked if he'd rather have the night or day off and he expressed the day off."
Actually, Furcal expressed he'd rather have neither. But he won't press it.
"Myself, I like to play every day," Furcal said. "Joe talked to me and told me to do the right thing. I understand everything he says. They'd rather keep me out one day than two or three months. I feel great. I don't think I need it. Nothing bothers me right now. But I can see both sides. I just don't like sitting on the bench. It makes me sleepy."
Torre said Martin is equally on board with his plan. In Martin's case, the rest is not precautionary following an injury but designed to prevent late-season fatigue. Martin led all Major League catchers last year with 149 games caught and was second with 138 starts and 1,238 innings. He also hit .294 before the All-Star break and .260 after it.
"With Russell, I'll give him Friday because of that turnaround," Torre said, meaning Martin will catch Thursday's day game and not start again until Saturday night. "I just don't want to take everybody [regulars] out at once."
Torre said he also wants to work fourth outfielder Juan Pierre into the lineup "a game or two a week" but hadn't formulated a plan yet.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.