By Evan Brunell
The Dodgers are moving closer to having two important parts of the team back in the fold. In regards to injuries, L.A. has been one of the most snakebitten teams this season, especially in their infield.
That could receive a boost by the end of the month as Rafael Furcal, who is attempting to return from a strained left oblique, may be ready to embark on a rehab assignment as early as next Monday, ESPN Los Angeles reports. Furcal, who has been sidelined long-term for the second time this year, fielded ground balls and threw across the diamond. He also took swings in the batting cage from the right side.
"He took some soft-toss [left-handed], but he wasn't 100 percent yet,'' Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said. "We're shooting for a rehab assignment when we leave to go on the road. That is what I'm hoping for."
Furcal could come back to limited playing time because prospect Dee Gordon has impressed in the time he's manned shortstop. The 23-year-old is hitting .298/.313/.340 and flashing solid defense, and he has stolen four bases in 12 games. If the club wants to keep Gordon in the lineup, they should consider moving Gordon or Furcal to second or third base, with Juan Uribe occupying the other. That would free up Casey Blake to head out to left field and attempt to plug the gaping hole there.
Jonathan Broxton is another Dodger on the comeback trail. He'll take the mound for Triple-A on Tuesday and Thursday in his recovery from a bone bruise in his right elbow that has held him out for a month. While Broxton has been very shaky as a closer for some time, no one has run away with the job so far in L.A., so he should be able to capture saves fairly immediately upon activation, which could happen by the end of the week.
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