Broken Thumb Knocks Furcal Out For Six Weeks

Shortstop Rafael Furcal broke his left thumb sliding into third base in the fifth inning Monday night, and he may be out for six weeks. He had missed the previous two games because of a wrist injury, and he said "I'm thinking about retiring if I can't get back to being healthy," he said. Furcal, 33, has averaged just 94 games the past three seasons due to various injuries.

He was off to a slow start this season, hitting .192 with a .250 on-base percentage after an 0-for-2 night Monday in the Dodgers' 6-1 win in the series opener at San Francisco. The play on which his got hurt was his first steal of the season.

Furcal was replaced in Monday's game by pinch hitter Aaron Miles, who played second base. Jamey Carroll moved from second base to shortstop, and he might see regular duty there in the coming weeks.

The Dodgers likely will call up an infielder from the minors Tuesday. The leading candidates include Ivan De Jesus Jr., who went 0-for-7 in the season's first week before being optioned to Class AAA Albuquerque, and Juan Castro.

Dodgers' running game alive and well
This was exactly what the Dodgers had in mind when they brought beloved former second baseman Davey Lopes back to the organization as its first-base coach in charge of the running game.

Matt Kemp stole five bases, Tony Gwynn Jr. stole three and the Dodgers were 10-for-10 as a team against the Padres over the weekend. They won two of three games, dropping the series finale 7-2 to the Padres on Sunday. Maybe some of it was Padres catchers Nick Hundley (29 percent last year) and Rob Johnson (35 percent last year), or the Padres pitchers not holding runners on very well.

But either way, the Dodgers ran at will.

Casey Blake and Matt Kemp executed a double steal in the fourth inning Friday night, with Blake the lead runner, and an errant throw by Johnson to second base after the faster runner, allowed Blake to score a run.

Kemp stole second and third base in the first inning Saturday.

Gwynn began Sunday's game with a four-pitch walk, stole second base on the first pitch to No. 2 hitter Aaron Miles, went to third on Miles' bunt, and scored on an Andre Ethier slow grounder to the pitcher because he was going on contact.

Kemp and Gwynn have the green light, and Lopes will either give them a yellow light or a brighter green light.

"Davey is always talking to them about moves, and keys to the (pitcher) out there," manager Don Mattingly said. "We're going to try taking advantage of what we see. Those two guys have above-average speed and can steal bags. They've worked with Davey on reading keys and not just guessing. They're paying attention when to go."

Kemp's fifth steal of the weekend came in the seventh, down 4-1, and ignited a near comeback. James Loney followed with a comebacker. Kemp was too aggressive and was caught in the middle, but pitcher Aaron Harang threw way over the head of third baseman Jorge Cantu for an error that allowed Kemp to score.

Kemp stole his seventh base in the opening game of the San Francisco series and Rafael Furcal collected his first before leaving the game after breaking his thumb on a head-first slide while stealing third base in the fifth inning.

NOTES, QUOTES
--It's still a long way from Orel Hershiser territory, and a different category altogether, but LHP Clayton Kershaw is working on a scoreless streak of his own.

Kershaw fired 6.2 more scoreless innings against the Giants on Monday night in a 6-1 Dodgers victory at AT&T Park, giving him 23.2 in a row against the Dodgers' biggest rival. In seven career games (six starts) against the Giants, Kershaw has allowed six earned runs in 50.2 innings for a 1.08 ERA.

The streak began on Aug. 1 last year with a scoreless seventh, his final inning out of seven in a 2-0 loss.

It continued with a four-hit, complete-game shutout on Sept. 14 in San Francisco, Kershaw's third-to-last start of the regular season.

Then on Opening Day 2011, Kershaw fired seven more scoreless innings against the Giants in Los Angeles, racking up nine strikeouts and just one walk.

Kershaw scattered six singles and two walks over 6 2/3 innings on Monday, walking two and striking out seven. The only success the Giants enjoyed was racking up his pitch count, as he threw 117 pitches before manager Don Mattingly lifted him.

In previous years, he'd have never started the seventh. Kershaw never liked being handled with kid gloves as a rookie and in his first full season of 2009. He wanted to be treated like any other pitcher, but was too respectful to publicly complain about getting frequently limited to 90-100 pitches a start.

The training wheels came off last year. In Monday's game, his pitch count was in the mid-90s in the sixth inning, two runners on base, and nobody was warming up in the bullpen.

Another sign of Kershaw's growing confidence is how comfortable he is showing emotion on the field. Kershaw is much more likely to pump his fist after a big strikeout or double play, which he did several times against the Giants on Monday night, then he did earlier in his career.

--CF Matt Kemp is 7-for-7 stealing bases to start this year, after going 19-for-34 a year ago, and widely credits new first-base coach Davey Lopes. Kemp has needed some luck too. He was picked off first by Madison Bumgarner, but still beat the throw and tag to second base. On Saturday, he was picked off first base by pitcher Dustin Moseley, but did a Matrix-like slide to avoid the tag of former teammate Orlando Hudson at second base.

--RF Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single to center, which was also his first hit this year against a lefty (he was 0-for-11 previously).

--RHP Jon Garland allowed three runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings Sunday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga in a rehab outing. Garland reached his 80-pitch limit, then threw 10 more in the bullpen. The Dodgers (and Garland) were focused more on how he felt than the results, and Garland said he felt great. Garland will return to the Dodgers rotation on April 15 against the Cardinals.

--RHP John Ely was optioned to Class AAA Albuquerque after his spot start Sunday. The Dodgers recalled OF Jamie Hoffmann from the Isotopes, going back to 11 pitchers and six reserve position players.

--INF Jamey Carroll delivered an on-field message to Giants fans -- following Giants reliever Jeremy Affleldt, his former teammate -- urging them to respect the on-field rivalry between the teams, but not letting it escalate to violence like it did last week at Dodger Stadium.

--C Hector Gimenez was placed on the disabled list April 10 with a sore knee. Gimenez has felt pain in the knee going back to spring training, and was icing it after each game. The Dodgers were about to drop from three catchers to two, and Gimenez wasn't confident he could catch nine innings, so he was DL'd.

--C A.J. Ellis was given a reprieve from the minors and will stick around instead. Ellis told after Saturday's game that he would likely be optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque (to make room for pitcher John Ely) before Sunday's series finale in San Diego. He was packing his bats and other belongings, when he was then told that he was staying in the majors after all because of Hector Gimenez's injury.

--3B Casey Blake was willing to play Sunday, despite colliding with baserunner Chase Headley on a game-ending interference call Saturday. Blake had a Charlie Horse, but nothing too serious and it was a scheduled day off.

BY THE NUMBERS I: $61,000-plus -- Amount of money raised Monday for Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium to help cover his medical costs. Stow remains in a coma after a brutal attack in the Dodger Stadium parking lot by two thugs dressed in Dodgers clothing.

BY THE NUMBERS II: 11 -- Years since a Dodgers pitcher has recorded two saves on the same day. The last was Jeff Shaw registering two saves on Aug. 25, 2000 at Wrigley Field, before Jonathan Broxton got two saves April 9 at San Diego. Broxton is now eighth on the franchise list with 82 saves.

QUOTE TO NOTE I: "I heard mixed reviews. I expected that. Padres against the Dodgers, it's more about the name on the front of the jersey than on the back. I wouldn't expect anything else. ... Any time a player faces a former team, you want to perform well. I was lucky enough to be put in spots where I was able to be successful. Most important, (I) was to be able to get a win. I have a lot of love for the guys over there." -- Tony Gwynn Jr., on the reaction of Padres fans in his return to San Diego, and his performance against his Dad's former team.
QUOTE TO NOTE II: "I would have liked to have gotten more outs, but it's baseball. It feels exactly how it would if I had come here and pitched in a game. (Sunday) night, I was home packing and doing some laundry to come here, and I started getting that achy, tired feeling that you always get after a start. I thought, well, here it is." -- RHP Jon Garland, after his rehab start Sunday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Garland, who added that soreness is welcome because it's normal, will come off the disabled list and start Friday.

ROSTER REPORT
--RHP Jon Garland (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. Garland allowed three runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings April 10 for Class A Rancho Cucamonga in a rehab outing. He will return to the big-league rotation April 15 against the Cardinals.

--RHP Vicente Padilla (right forearm surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He felt some soreness after a bullpen session in early April, and he was to take a few days off before starting to throw again.

--OF Jay Gibbons (blurred vision in left eye) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He got new contact lenses in late March. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Albuquerque on April 7.

--C Dioner Navarro (torn right oblique muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, but has gone to Arizona to continue his rehab. He might be able to return late in April.

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