Furcal set for Class A rehab stint
LA shortstop to play two games before returning Friday
PHOENIX -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal had a change in plans and will report to Class A Inland Empire for a two-game injury rehabilitation assignment instead of with Triple-A Albuquerque, manager Joe Torre said Monday.
"There was a bad weather report in Colorado Springs, where Albuquerque plays, so he'll go to San Bernardino and play Tuesday and Wednesday and then go to San Diego [for the Dodgers' series there beginning Friday night]," Torre said. "If everything goes without incident, he'll play Friday."
Furcal went on the disabled list May 4 with a strained left hamstring suffered trying to beat out a double-play ground ball. He was batting .309 with eight stolen bases, only four fewer than he had all last year.
Jamey Carroll has played in place of Furcal at shortstop. In 13 starts at shortstop entering Monday night, Carroll was batting .326 with six walks.
"He's done a great job," Torre said of Carroll. "He doesn't get your attention with the tools Raffy has, but he's a tough competitor. He doesn't have the same range, but he knows how to play shortstop."
Ely's energy, quirks recall late Fidrych
PHOENIX -- John Ely doesn't talk to baseballs or manicure mounds on his hands and knees.
But short of that, he's the closest thing to the late Mark "The Bird" Fidrych that ever wore a Dodgers uniform.
"Ely reminds me of Fidrych a lot," said acting Dodgers bullpen coach Jim Slaton, who played with the unconventional Fidrych in Detroit in 1978 and coached Ely earlier this year at Triple-A Albuquerque.
"I haven't been around John a lot, but he's got that nervous energy and people feed off that. With both of them, there's nothing fake about it. Fidrych was sincere. John isn't to the extent of talking to balls and fixing the mound, but it's refreshing to see and fun to be around. He even looks like 'The Bird' with the long hair."
Ely makes his third career start for the Dodgers on Tuesday night against the D-backs and he's worth watching, and not only when he's pitching. When he takes the field, he hops over the foul line. He'll go through some severe gyrations before his warmup tosses, wind-milling his throwing arm, swiveling at the hips to stretch his torso, walking semi-circles around the mound before toeing the rubber to begin his warmups.
In the dugout, while it's become cool for pitchers to be focused to the point of detached, Ely is a cheerleader, exchanging high-fives and slapping backs.
"I'm a little wacky, but I don't talk to baseballs or anything like that," said Ely. "I'm just an emotional guy. That's the way I've always been. It helps me stay in the game. I'm not going to just sit there."
Torre denies report he's leaving LA after '10
PHOENIX -- Joe Torre seemed partly amused and partly annoyed when told FOX Sports reported that "unnamed friends" claim he wouldn't return for a fourth season as manager unless the Dodgers' ownership situation improves.
"Obviously they're not friends of mine," Torre said. "I don't really allow those conversations out of my home. I haven't made up my mind and won't until closer to the end of the season."
Torre denied that his decision hinges on the outcome of the divorce between owner Frank McCourt and former club CEO Jamie McCourt.
"It's going to be mine," he said. "How I feel towards the end of the year, if I want to do this anymore. If I stop managing, I don't want to shut it down. That's not fair to my wife, to do that to her. It has more to do with me than anything else. I enjoy managing still. The players seem to be comfortable with it."
Told that the report further speculated that Torre would consider managing the Mets, Cubs or Braves, Torre again reacted with surprise.
"Must be the same friends," he said. "I refuse to say absolutely, but I have to say it's very, very remote that ever happens. I certainly don't anticipate, at age 70, searching around for another managing job."
Torre is in the third and final year of a $13 million deal and a year ago predicted that 2010 would be his final season as a manager. But in November, he confirmed that he and the club were in talks to extend the contract for one more season.
At the Winter Meetings in December, general manager Ned Colletti said those talks had expanded to include the front-office role. When Spring Training opened, Torre reiterated his interest in managing next season.
But in mid-March, he suspended negotiations to avoid becoming a "distraction" during the season. Torre said then that negotiations with the club included a significant front-office advisory role after the 2011 season and he wasn't sure if he'd want that kind of workload. Torre turns 70 in July.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.