Not Good News; Furcal on DL

This isn't a good news-bad news situation because there is no good news. The Dodgers announced that shortstop Rafael Furcal, who has missed the last five games because of lower back pain, was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to May 6, meaning the earliest Furcal can be activated is May 21 for the final game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium against Cincinnati.

    Furcal's place on the roster will be taken by infielder Luis Maza, whose contract was purchased from Las Vegas. Maza, a 27-year-old career minor leaguer who is hitting .402, third in the Pacific Coast League, is a 10-year minor leaguer and a fine fielder.

Maza, signed at 19, spent his first eight years in the Minnesota Twins organization but was released at the end of the 2006 season. The Dodgers signed him as a free agent in 2007. He has only 11 extra base hits in 33 games, including one home run but had a 19-game hitting streak from April 11 to May 3.

He can play shortstop, second base, third base and all three outfield positions.

"He's a very interesting player. You don't see many guys that can do that," manager Lorenzo Bundy. "When you find guys like that, they stick around for a long time. He doesn't run that well, but he knows how to play. He's a good baserunner, but his raw running speed is just not there."

"He may not be the answer right now, but he may be some time later on in the summer. He does all the things for him to have success." He didn't realize at the time that "later on in the summer" would come around so quickly.

Furcal who was hitting .366, third in the majors, did not fly to Milwaukee with the club yesterday, instead undergoing an MRI and receiving a cortisone injection in his sprained sacra-iliac joint. There is no way to predict how long he will be out. He will begin rehab therapy tomorrow.

He suffered a similar injury last September, and wound up missing the final 12 games of the season. He's already missed the past five games, the Dodgers losing the last four of them, with rookie Chin-lung Hu replacing Furcal at shortstop and Juan Pierre taking over the leadoff spot in the batting order. Torre said catcher Russell Martin was backup shortstop for the day.

Furcal leads the club with five home runs, along with a .366 average, 34 runs scored, 12 doubles, a .597 slugging percentage and a .448 on-base percentage.

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