Furcal's loss painful to Dodgers, too

   As the Dodgers creep closer to playoff elimination, shortstop Rafael Furcal might be getting closer to the end of his season. Manager Grady Little wouldn't commit to it, but there is a chance that Furcal will no longer play once the Dodgers are eliminated from the playoff race.

L.A. Inside Report - September 20 Furcal is currently on the shelf with a stiff lower back and has been nursing a sprained left ankle since spring training.

   "If we were unfortunate enough to not play meaningful games, there are about 10 guys that would benefit from not playing," Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said. "Speaking specifically about Furcal, the ankle has been an issue all year long.

He's had really good weeks and some not good days. The last couple of weeks he's run real well, and then it gets sore. It's something that we've had to deal with all season."

   That list of players Conte referred to could include third baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who is still playing with a strained left calf.

Second baseman Jeff Kent was recently sidelined with a slight hamstring strain.

Catcher Russell Martin hurt his knee during the Dodgers' last road trip.

   The Dodgers are still unsure about what caused Furcal's latest injury. He was thought to have hurt his back while sliding when he stole four bases Saturday.

Conte said Wednesday, however, that the injury popped up Sunday.

   "It doesn't seem to be real serious, but there's definitely tightness in his lower back," Conte said. "I don't know what caused it. It was just a progressive thing. It wasn't one particular injury or a quick move or anything like that."

   Furcal left the first game of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader in the seventh inning and hasn't been seen since. Though reports indicate that he is getting better, there is still no timetable on his return.

   Should Little decide to sit Furcal down for the remainder of the season, he might have a fight on his hands from the shortstop.

   "He's a great player," Little said. "When he's totally healthy, he's one of the best players in the league. He's certainly one of our best players. Nothing he does surprises us."

ROCKIES 6, DODGERS 5: Jonathan Broxton gave up a two-run home run in the eighth inning to Brad Hawpe, and Colorado handed Los Angeles its fourth consecutive loss. The victory by the Rockies overshadowed a three-RBI night by James Loney and a two-hit night by Brad Penny, who failed in his bid to win a career-high 17th game. Penny allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings.

Notes and Quotes
   --1B James Loney had three RBIs in the Dodgers' loss at Colorado on Wednesday and has driven in runs in 13 of his last 22 games. His is batting .457 in his last nine games.

   --RHP Jonathan Broxton served up his fifth home run ball of the month and took the loss in Wednesday's game against the Rockies. Broxton allowed one home run in the first five months of the season.

   --RHP Brad Penny went into Wednesday's start at Colorado having allowed six home runs all season. He then proceeded to give up two home runs to Matt Holliday and one to Yorvit Torrealba.

   --OF Juan Pierre had two hits in four at-bats Wednesday, raising his batting average at Coors Field to .334 in 201 games. His batting average against the Rockies this season is .351.

   --RHP Scott Proctor pitched two-thirds of an inning Wednesday and ran his scoreless streak to 8 1/3 innings. He hit one batter.

By the Numb3rs -- The number of victories by RHP Brad Penny after beating the Diamondbacks on Friday. The 16 victories equal a career high, which he set last season.

Quotes to Notes: ""It could be any of several things. For him, he isn't a guy who has historically been wild. But he is kind of a spot pitcher who is basically missing his spots. That could be a matter of trying to do too much or trying to be a little bit too fine."-- Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt talking about starter Esteban Loaiza. *M*A*S*H* 4077 Report--
SS Rafael Furcal (stiff lower back) took himself out of the first game of the doubleheader on Sept. 18. He didn't play Sept. 19, and he is day-to-day.

   RHP Derek Lowe (bruised right hand) missed his Sept. 12 start, but he was back on the mound Sept. 15 and pitched seven strong innings.

   LHP Randy Wolf (tender left shoulder) went on the disabled list July 4. He pitched on a rehab assignment July 25 but emerged with more shoulder irritation. He had season-ending surgery Sept. 5.

   OF Jason Repko (torn left hamstring) opened the season on the disabled list. He had surgery March 28 and is expected to be out for the season. He was moved to the 60-day disabled list Aug. 29.

   LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (sore left elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to July 1. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow July 25. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 4, and he is out for the season.

   RHP Chin-hui Tsao (strained right shoulder) went on the disabled list July 15. He was ready to start a throwing program in early August, but renewed pain put those plans on hold.

   RHP Jason Schmidt (sore right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 17. He underwent exploratory surgery on June 20, and a torn labrum was discovered. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 13 and will miss the rest of the season.

   RHP Yhency Brazoban (strained right shoulder) went on the disabled list June 1. He cut short a throwing session June 15, and he was subsequently diagnosed with a torn labrum. He underwent surgery June 22 and is out for the season.


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