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Sunday, May 30, 2010
Ethier on track for Monday return

By Tony Jackson
ESPNLosAngeles.com

DENVER -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre reiterated on Sunday morning that he expects right fielder Andre Ethier to be activated from the 15-day disabled list and be in the starting lineup for Monday night's game against Arizona.

Torre allowed for the possibility Ethier might need one more day to fully recover from the two games he played for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday and Saturday in Memphis, but Torre said he had received no indication that was the case.

Ethier has been sidelined since May 14, when he broke a knuckle in his right pinkie. Even when he returns, he will wear a tiny splint on the finger that immobilizes the knuckle but allows for full movement in the rest of the finger.

Ethier went 3 for 5 with four runs scored and two RBI in his two games for the Isotopes.

Haeger won't start Tuesday

Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will not come off the DL and pitch on Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks after all.

During what was supposed to be his final rehab start for Class-A Inland Empire on Saturday night against Bakersfield, 66ers pitching coach Charlie Hough noticed Haeger limping, an indication he was bothered by the injury to his right big toe suffered in his previous rehab start.

Hough reported what he saw to Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, prompting the change in plans. Rookie John Ely, who was to have pitched on five days' rest against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, will now pitch on regular rest Tuesday. Rookie Carlos Monasterios, who would have gone back to the bullpen to make room for Haeger, instead will now make his third major league start on Wednesday against Arizona.

Torre said Haeger's rehab is now on hold and gave no indication when the right-hander might resume. But with veteran Vicente Padilla expected back from the DL in the next couple of weeks, Haeger's window for rejoining the rotation might be closing. Torre said Padilla, who threw a simulated game on Saturday, probably will need one more such game before beginning his minor league rehab, which is expected to consist of three starts.

Furcal shaking off rust

Shortstop Rafael Furcal said Sunday morning that he is beginning to find his comfort zone after returning from the DL on Tuesday at Chicago. After going 1 for 13 in his first four games back, Furcal had three hits on Saturday night and made two outstanding defensive plays, including one in which he went deep in the hole between short and third, planted and fired across his body to get a runner at first.

"I feel better, and I'm getting back on track," Furcal said. "It takes a while, just because I hadn't seen live pitching and it isn't the same with practice. I'm just trying to make contact. I'm feeling a lot more comfortable."

Furcal played two minor league rehab games almost two weeks before he came back and one game in extended spring training last weekend. But despite the slow start, he denies he would have benefited from more rehab time.

"I was still practicing," he said. "But for me, I'm not a practice guy. I'm a game man. When I'm practicing, it's OK, but I like the games more, especially during the season. There might be days when you come to the park saying, 'Oh, I don't want to play today,' but by the last half-hour before the game, you're ready to go.''

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.