Tony Jackson, of the Los Angeles Daily News, reports Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal (back) will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain. The move will be retroactive to May 6.
Furcal was putting up some very good numbers before suffering the injury, which he compared to the soreness he suffered from last September that forced him to miss 12 contests. He is hitting .366 with five home runs, 16 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 32 games. He also has walked 19 times and struck out only 15 times. Furcal has been bothered by this injury for the last week and has missed the Dodgers' last five games. He likely will be able to come back Wednesday, May 21, because the move is retroactive.
Last season, he had a solid season, but several of his statistics went down from his 2006 campaign. In 138 games, he hit .270 with six home runs, 47 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. In addition to his nagging back, he battled through an ankle injury last season but did not miss any significant time. He has played in at least 154 games in four of the last six seasons.
From a fantasy perspective, owners should put Furcal on a disabled list spot. The speedster has shown an increase in power, which is a bonus for his owners. Furcal is a top-10 fantasy shortstop and should be held onto in all leagues. With Furcal on the sidelines, outfielder Juan Pierre likely will continue to hit leadoff when he's in the lineup.
The likely replacement at shortstop is infielder Chin-Lung Hu, the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America. He has played in the last five games while Furcal has been sitting out but mostly has been a reserve at both shortstop and second base. A career .299 hitter in the minor leagues entering 2008, Hu has had some difficulties at the plate so far this season, hitting .208 with five RBIs and one stolen base in 27 games. In his short stint last season with the Dodgers, Hu hit .241 with two home runs and five RBIs in 12 games. Hu has seen most of his at-bats as the No. 8 hitter in the lineup. For owners looking for a short-term option, Hu would be worth a pickup, especially in NL-only formats.
To fill Furcal's roster spot, the Dodgers recalled infielder Luis Maza, whom the team will be calling up to replace Furcal. In 33 games with Triple-A Las Vegas, Maza is hitting .402 with one home run, 15 RBIs and one stolen base. The 27-year-old has never played a game in the majors and is not worthy of a pickup in any league for now.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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