|ESPN.com: ESPNLosAngeles||[Print without images]|
|Rafael Furcal was healthy last year, but his productivity dropped. He hopes to get his timing back this year.|
|Matt Kemp looks to have a breakout year and could be among baseball's elite players.|
It would be an exaggeration to say the switch-hitting Furcal has to have a productive season for any of this to work. But it certainly would help. "Last year was a little bit of a tough season for me," he said. "I struggled the whole year. This year, I didn't play winter ball in the Dominican. I just tried to relax, and then I started working out in December and January and February. ... I took about 200 swings a day from both sides. I had one left-handed guy and one right-handed guy throwing me batting practice, and I was out there every morning at 7:30 until 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon so I could come in here and be better. It was my fault, nobody else's fault, that I struggled." One thing Furcal hasn't lost is the ability to laugh at himself. "Maybe I'm just getting old," he said. "Maybe I forgot how to hit." Maybe this year, he will remember again. If so, the Dodgers' lineup will be just fine.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.