Dodgers trade Rafael Furcal to Cards

Updated: July 31, 2011, 8:52 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Alex Castellanos, a power-hitting minor league outfielder who has yet to play at anything above the Double-A level, is the player the Los Angeles Dodgers are getting from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers announced Sunday.

Castellanos will be assigned to the Dodgers' Double-A Chattanooga affiliate.

Castellanos, who will turn 25 on Thursday, is primarily a right fielder. He is hitting .319 for the Cardinals' Double-A Texas League team in Springfield, Mo. He has 21 doubles, 19 homers, 62 RBIs and a .379 on-base percentage, but he is averaging one strikeout every 3.8 at-bats. The Cardinals drafted him in the 10th round in 2008 out of Belmont Abbey, a Catholic college outside Charlotte, N.C.

The Dodgers will pay $2.6 million of the roughly $4 million owed to Furcal for the rest of the season. The Cardinals will pay $1.4 million.

The Dodgers also recalled Dee Gordon from Triple-A Albuquerque.

The 33-year-old Furcal, a two-time All-Star, is batting just .197 in 37 games while struggling with injuries this season. But the Cardinals noted he had three multihit games in the last week.

Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot had been in a 2-for-38 slump earlier in the week before getting four hits on Saturday, starting at second base against the Cubs.

General manager John Mozeliak said Furcal would add veteran experience for the NL Central race. The Cardinals were 1½ games behind the Brewers. Furcal has a career batting average of .283 with 298 stolen bases and has been considered one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.

Furcal has 26 career leadoff homers and is second on the Dodgers' career list with 14. He's been to the postseason eight times, five with the Braves and three with the Dodgers, and hit .500 (6 for 12) in Los Angeles' three-game Division series sweep of the Cardinals in 2009.

"Rafael has been an excellent top of the order hitter and he brings plenty of athleticism and defense," Mozeliak said.

Three of Furcal's last four seasons have been injury-shortened and he mentioned retirement when sidelined by a fractured left thumb this April and also has missed time with a strained left side. He played in 150 games in 2009, but in `08, `10 and'11 he has played a total of 170 games.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. Information from ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

ALSO SEE