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08/18/10 10:16 PM ET

Manny hits Class A; Furcal still shelved

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez began his rehab assignment at Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday, while Rafael Furcal's back pain worsened.

The Dodgers don't have a timetable for Ramirez to return from his calf injury, but if all goes well, a week of rehab games would seem plenty. For Furcal, who's on the disabled list with a lower back injury, the next step is a bone scan on Thursday.

"Today it's not good," Furcal said. "It's frustrating for me. I want to get healthy to play. I don't have control. If I could find something to make me feel better and play, I'd do it. I'm trying the best I can."

The Dodgers' shortstop was pumped up to begin a rehab assignment earlier this week, and the team tried to back him off it to make sure everything was all right, and it wasn't. He woke up tightness on Tuesday after the team flew back from Atlanta, and it was worse on Wednesday.

Furcal met with his back surgeon, Robert Watkins Jr., who instructed the team to sit tight.

"He recommended that we slow down a little bit and see who he does the next coupled days," team trainer Stan Conte said. "This is not the same kind of issue that he had before with pain down his legs, he doesn't have any of that. But, obviously, this is a little bit of a setback at this point."

Furcal has already received an MRI exam, and it was determined he did not have a disc injury.

Meanwhile, reliever Jeff Weaver threw a two-inning simulated game off the Dodger Stadium mound on Wednesday as he works back from tendinitis in his left knee. He's been out since Aug. 3, and the team hasn't decided if he'll need a rehab assignment yet.

"Let's see how he feels tomorrow, and when the time comes, we'll see," Joe Torre said. "At this point in time, he's not going to be back in a week."

Dodgers 'pen getting sorted out

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Wednesday that one of his relievers Tuesday night in a 6-0 win over the Rockies looked like a closer.

It wasn't Jonathan Broxton, but George Sherill.

Broxton took a step forward, Torre said, with his perfect ninth inning in the non-save situation, but Torre wants to see more before anointing Broxton the full-time closer once again.

Sherrill, on the other hand, worked out of a two-on, none-out jam left to him by Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning with a strikeout, flyout and groundout.

"Last night was a great test," Torre said. "Now it's been six or seven that have been much better. Much better. In fact, last night was about as good as you can get ... He was back to his closer form last night."

As for Jansen, who's allowed one run on two hits and two walks combined over his last two outings, Torre thinks his quick success might have raised expectations. He's been talking to the 22-year-old.

"You try to think too much," Torre said. "And I think in his case, all of a sudden he's trying to make pitches instead of just trying to let the ball go. I talked to him a little bit on the bench, I talked to him after the game, I talked to him today."

Gibbons gets a start

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Jay Gibbons got his first start in a week Wednesday night against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, batting sixth in left field, while Matt Kemp was out of the lineup.

Manager Joe Torre said the move was more to get Gibbons, who was a regular player at Triple-A Albuquerque, some action and that Kemp wasn't about to enter a platoon. But the move does speak to Kemp's continued struggles. He went 0-for-3 both of the previous two games and is 2-for-17 in his last five.

Gibbons has done well in his short time with the Dodgers, going 5-for-13 with a homer and four RBIs. He's hitless in his last three pinch-hit attempts, part of the learning curve he's experiencing as he adjusts to a role off the bench.

"Trying to figure out how much to prepare during the game and when to get loose," said Gibbons, who had last played in the Majors in 2007 before this season. "I've been a man of the American League for seven years. I've been talking to Reed Johnson a lot and kind of following his way. There might have been a couple of at-bats where I've been too geared up."

Dodgers re-up with Ogden affiliate

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and their Pioneer League affiliate, the Ogden Raptors, have announced a four-year extension of the organizations' player-development contract. The Raptors will be the Dodgers' advanced rookie team through 2014.

"We're proud to continue our nearly decade-long relationship with the Raptors," said Dodgers assistant general manager for player development De Jon Watson. "We're grateful to the people of Ogden, who continue to be great hosts and make Lindquist Field a special stop for our future Dodgers."

Thirteen Major Leaguers have passed through Ogden and 11 have made their debut for the Dodgers, including All-Stars Russell Martin and Chad Billingsley. The Dodgers and Raptors have been affiliated since 2003. This season, the Raptors have the best record in the eight-team league at 35-20.

"We could not be any happier with the extension of our partnership with the Dodgers," Raptors owner and president Dave Baggott said. "The Dodger name and history carries so much weight for us here in Ogden and we will continue to try and make the entire Dodger Family proud of the Ogden Raptors."

Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.