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05/09/09 3:23 PM ET
Torre expects turnaround from Furcal
Dodgers manager thinks shortstop's swing 'too big'
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- With a .250 batting average and five errors in 28 games at shortstop, Rafael Furcal has certainly been struggling so far this season.
Furcal was given a planned day off Saturday against the Giants, but Dodgers manager Joe Torre said it could be a good day for the shortstop to refocus his approach at the plate.
"I think he just tries to get too big," said Torre of Furcal's swing. "He just needs to put the ball in play and use his hands. But sometimes his body just gets in the way so right now they're teasing him by throwing up high."
Torre said Furcal has been trying to drive the ball this season, but it hasn't worked because he has just one home run and five doubles.
It's a far cry from Furcal's hot start last season when he was batting .366 with five home runs, 34 runs scored and 16 RBIs in 32 games before suffering a lower back injury on May 5 that forced him out of the lineup until Sept. 24. That hot start, though, has made his struggles this season even more glaring, which Torre doesn't like.
"I don't think it's fair to compare to him to last year in that first month because he was playing out of his mind," Torre said.
A usually sound defensive shortstop, Furcal has also had his share of errors this season because he's had trouble throwing the ball to first base. His five errors at shortstop rank second to last in the National League behind the six errors made by the Cardinals' Khalil Greene and the Nationals' Alberto Gonzalez.
"I think he's been OK defensively," Torre said. "He's throwing the ball now after having a problem with it. But probably in every aspect of his game right now he's trying to overdo it."
Torre, however, said that he's confident that Furcal will turn it around in all aspects of the game as long as he stays healthy, especially after playing in just 36 games last season.
"I think he'll be fine," Torre said. "As long he's physically fine, that's my biggest concern right now."