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08/13/08 11:01 PM ET

Saito plays catch while 'pen shuffles

Reliever's injury strings out weakened corps; Furcal works out

LOS ANGELES -- Updates on injured closer Takashi Saito and shortstop Rafael Furcal remain typically vague.

Saito is with the club, trying to rehabilitate a torn right elbow ligament that usually requires Tommy John surgery to repair. He said he is playing catch from about 50 feet two days for every one day off.

"I feel no pain, and that's really encouraging," said Saito, but he offered no guess on a return date.

Saito still has not thrown off a mound since suffering the injury July 12, and there are only 2 1/3 weeks left of the Minor League season -- so he likely would need to return solely off simulated games, if he gets that close.

Saito's injury has triggered a domino effect among the remaining relievers, which has left the club dangerously thin in pitching -- starting with Jonathan Broxton, who has assumed the closing duties.

Broxton was available Wednesday after being unavailable Tuesday, swapping situations with Tuesday night's winner Hong-Chih Kuo, who was off Wednesday. The bullpen figured to get a workout with Brad Penny making only his second start after seven weeks on the disabled list.

Manager Joe Torre said Cory Wade was back in action after skipping five of the previous six games because of a tender shoulder.

Details on Furcal are even sketchier as he continues to recover from back surgery in Arizona. Torre said Furcal has begun baseball activity. Furcal was shooting for a Sept. 1 return, so his target would be a Minor League rehab assignment within the next two weeks.

Torre said outfielder Andruw Jones, placed on the disabled list Tuesday, will go on a Minor League assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas at the end of this week, in part to rehab his left knee, but mostly to rehab his mental approach to hitting.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.