SAN FRANCISCO -- Jamey Carroll has learned that being the backup to shortstop Rafael Furcal isn't really like being a backup at all.

"That's why I'm here. It's my job," said Carroll, the valuable utility man who again has inherited the starting job with Furcal suffering a broken left thumb Monday night that will keep him sidelined four to six weeks.

"I just prepare and get ready. Obviously it's an unfortunate situation. Nobody wants it to happen. It's a situation now to just go out there and play."

Carroll played 69 games at shortstop last year, including 25 in a row from April 28 to May 25 when Furcal hurt a hamstring (the Dodgers went 17-8 in those games).

Carroll, 37, had a rough spring, suffering a badly bruised right index finger when he was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt. He developed bad habits with his swing while trying to compensate for the injury, which no longer bothers him throwing.

Offensively, he's hitting .393, including three hits Monday night while starting at second base because Juan Uribe was starting at third for Casey Blake.

Garland, Padilla report no setbacks

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jon Garland came out of a bullpen session Tuesday with no issues and remains on track to make his season debut Friday night against St. Louis.

Garland has recovered from a strained oblique muscle that caused him to miss his first start because of injury in almost 10 years.

Meanwhile, pitcher Vicente Padilla has played catch on back-to-back days as he continues his recovery from forearm surgery and a setback suffered last week when he overdid it in a 60-pitch bullpen session. Padilla has responded well to a cortisone injection and the Dodgers hope he will resume throwing off a mound in a few days.

Because the Dodgers are hoping for Padilla to be a long reliever and not a starting pitcher, it's hoped that he can begin a Minor League rehab assignment in less than two weeks. Padilla had surgery Feb. 24 to free an entrapped radial nerve in his right arm.

Manager Don Mattingly said he was hopeful third baseman Casey Blake would return to the lineup by Wednesday, but Blake said he still can't run because of a deep thigh bruise suffered Saturday night. The frigid Bay Area weather wouldn't seem to be the ideal conditions for Blake's type of injury.