LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal's back felt much better Thursday, although he still felt discomfort and still wasn't expected to return to the lineup before the start of next week's road trip on Tuesday at Philadelphia.
"It still wasn't real good, but it was better," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Hopefully, he can be back by the start of the trip."
Furcal, who underwent microdiscectomy surgery on his back in the middle of a 4 1/2-month stint on the disabled list in 2008, hadn't experienced any back issues since then until he began to feel discomfort while stretching before Monday night's game with the San Diego Padres. Furcal felt it even more severely after going deep into the hole to his right to grab a ground ball, planting and throwing across his body in the fifth inning of that game.
The Dodgers are playing a man short in hopes that they can avoid putting Furcal on the 15-day disabled list, a move that would keep him out until at least Aug. 18.
Ramirez still has discomfort
Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, who is on the 15-day DL and at the team's spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz., did no baseball activities Thursday but did work out. Torre said Ramirez continued to feel discomfort in his right calf.
The Dodgers had hoped Ramirez could start a minor league rehabilitation assignment by this weekend, but he suffered a setback earlier in the week, putting that assignment on hold until at least the early part of next week.
Fan dies after collapsing on field
Don Hawkins, a fan who was on the field as part of Mormon Community Night pregame festivities, was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital on Thursday after being taken away by ambulance about half an hour before the game. Hawkins had collapsed on the field, just in front of the Dodgers' dugout, while the Padres took batting practice. Police and medical workers attended to Hawkins for about 15-20 minutes, administering CPR and at least three defibrillation shocks, before Hawkins was taken away.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.