LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier's special splint on his fractured right little finger looks more like a regular bandage than a splint, and it's allowed him to work on his hitting while he heals.
The splint, which prevents his top-most knuckle from bending but does not restrict his hand from opening and closing or from making a fist, has allowed Ethier to hit in the cage the past four days.
"It's Band-Aid material with two strips of plastic that run on top and bottom of the finger, it allows for a little more compact splint rather than the traditional big metal or foam," said Ethier, who's been on the disabled list since May 15. "I've been able to swing with it, just in the cage, tee work, some soft toss ... Something the way the splint's developed, it distributes pressure throughout the whole finger rather than at the tip."
Ethier, who led the National League in the Triple Crown categories when he went down, said squeezing isn't painful, but opening the hand can stress a tendon on the top of the finger.
"It's not as painful as I thought it would be," Ethier said. "I don't feel it with every swing ... I don't know, we'll see. Did I think I'd be swinging a week later? No. We'll see how it progresses next week."
Dodgers eye Tuesday return for Furcal
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers did not activate Rafael Furcal for Sunday's game after the shortstop took five at-bats in extended spring training on Saturday. Furcal has been out with a strained left hamstring since April.
"He's fine, we're going to wait until Tuesday to activate him," manager Joe Torre said. "He came back today had a real good day yesterday, did about everything ... he felt good today. [We're waiting] to let him just have the insurance of a couple days extra rest and the fact that we have to decide what we're doing."
To make room for Furcal, the Dodgers may demote a pitcher instead of Nick Green or another position player because they will not need a fifth starter until Friday or Saturday in Colorado. Nick Green is out of options and would need to clear waivers, which prompted Torre to bring Blake DeWitt's name into the conversation Saturday as a possibility to be sent to Triple-A Albuquerque.
But DeWitt, batting .276, is the team's starting second baseman and is 5-for-14 through six games of the seven-game homestand. Green, called up May 4, has gotten virtually no playing time and is 1-for-8 at the plate during the time he has played.
Control issues crop up for reliever Troncoso
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso has allowed four runs in his past two appearances while recording just two outs.
Troncoso gave up a solo home run and a walk to the Tigers in the eighth inning Saturday, but he also showed a sign he doesn't know where the ball is going. Troncoso beaned Austin Jackson in the helmet, sending the Tigers outfielder to the hospital, two pitches after he knocked Jackson down with a curveball.
"I didn't want to hit him," Troncoso said. "I tried to go inside with that pitch [that hit him]."
Troncoso is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 24 games. Before Wednesday, when Troncoso couldn't record an out and gave up three runs, he had yet to allow a run in seven May appearances.
"Yesterday it just looked like he was overthrowing the ball," manager Joe Torre said. "It just didn't look like his ball was going north and south, it was going east and west and sort of hanging there."
Broxton, Kuo get breather on Sunday
LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Broxton, who has saved three games in a row, and setup man Hong-Chih Kuo were both unavailable for the Dodgers on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series with the Tigers at Dodger Stadium.
Kuo pitched an intense inning Saturday in a 6-4 Dodgers win, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, and manager Joe Torre has not yet used the left-hander on back-to-back days. Kuo has a history of arm injuries and his elbow landed him on the disabled list earlier this season.
Torre said he would play the matchups if the Dodgers are ahead late on Sunday.
"The situation will dictate it, lefty-righty, [George] Sherrill-[Ronald] Belisario," Torre said. "My guess is it's going to come down those guys."
Torre said he could also use Jeff Weaver. Sherrill has closing experience but Torre pointed to his inconsistency this season and the fact that he may need an inning out of Sherrill earlier than the ninth.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.