05/27/08 7:55 PM ET
Jones' knee surgery goes without hitch
No timetable for Furcal; Dodgers making LaRoche utility man
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Nothing unexpected was found during the procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and Jones' estimated recovery remains at four to six weeks. He will begin therapy immediately.
However, there was no indication when disabled shortstop Rafael Furcal will return. He's progressing slowly from a lower back or disk problem that has already cost him 17 games, and manager Joe Torre said he hadn't heard anything to indicate -- and is not expecting -- Furcal will be ready to play when the Dodgers open their next homestand Monday night.
Torre said the club was pleased with Jason Schmidt's third rehab assignment on Monday, when he went 3 1/3 innings and 45 pitches, not allowing a run until a sloppy fourth inning. Torre said Schmidt was clocked at 91 mph and will try to increase his pitch count to 60 in about five days.
"We may not get the best of him until next year," Torre said of Schmidt's velocity. "More than velocity, it's about movement. We got a good report on his changeup."
Torre said he didn't know what the Dodgers will do once Schmidt is ready to be activated.
Meanwhile, with Blake DeWitt entrenched at third base, Nomar Garciaparra out indefinitely and scheduled for Friday tests of his calf muscle, and a decision soon whether Tony Abreu needs hip surgery, the Dodgers are moving Andy LaRoche around the infield at Triple-A to become a utility man. He's begun playing first base, and Torre said he's likely to give second base a shot to give the club a backup to Jeff Kent.
"We'll do this thing from within to give ourselves as much flexibility as possible," said Torre.
LaRoche had previously played one game at first base in the Minor Leagues and had dabbled last year in the outfield, but he has never played second base. DeWitt played the 2006 season at second base.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.