Furcal's Back Clouds His Future

Surgery will delay SS Raffy Furcal's 2008 return until September at the earliest and is sure to complicate if not threaten any new contract with the Dodgers in this, his last year under his current contract.

The Dodgers, having been bitten and bitten hard by signing older players with a record of injury, surely can not automatically assume Furcal can or will return to his pre-injury form.

We have often written about Dr. Frank Jobe's dictum that a back injury is the worst form of injury for athletes, particularly non pitchers. Whether or not Jobe's feelings will be remembered by the Dodgers brass is of course open to question, but it is a fact.

Surely the Dodgers, knowing more now about Jason Schmidt or Nomar Garciaparra wouldn't have signed either player and, one would have to put Furcal in this category as well.

Raffy's bad back abruptly ended a great start to the season and his injury more than any other factor sidelined hopes for the team. It is a tragedy, not so much for the Dodgers, but for Furcal's future career.

Somebody else might take a chance the Dodgers, bitten so often, might not be willing to take, at least on the terms Furcal and his agent might want.

But fielding a 2009 team with a better and more stable option at short will be a big, big decision the Dodgers have to make.

One of the reasons we are not in charge of the Dodgers is that we would never never have optioned Clayton Kershaw, and have begun to play with his mind as the Dodgers did a year ago with James Loney.

Kershaw is an integral part of the Dodgers future which you can not say about many of the pitchers still on the Dodgers big league roster. We'd have optioned pitching coach Rick Honeycutt first.

A team that continues to have Mark Sweeney on the roster and Kershaw gone has to tell you something about the Dodgers' decision makers.

Improbably the Dodgers find themselves only 1/2 game back of the Diamondbacks, a gift indeed. If the Dodgers were out of it, which in all other divisions they would be, front office decisions wouldn't loom as important.

But having an opportunity to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, brings closer attention to what the Dodgers do or don't do as the trade deadline nears.

Ned Colletti's decisions so far have, more often than not, not worked out as he and he team had projected. In many other cities, he'd already been on the hot seat. Now he has a chance to redeem himself. Whether or not he has learned anything from the past is still yet to be seen.