ATLANTA -- Disabled Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal has made enough recent improvement from a lower back strain that he might join Manny Ramirez on a Minor League rehab assignment this week.
Furcal, who is eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, had a thorough workout Saturday -- including batting practice in the cage -- and felt well enough Sunday, when the Dodgers did not take BP on the field, to run aggressively in the outfield under the direction of trainer Stan Conte.
"We're looking at some point here in the next few days [at] a rehab for one or two games," manager Joe Torre said.
Jamey Carroll, Furcal's replacement at shortstop, was given a break Sunday as recently returned Juan Castro started at shortstop. In 13 August games, Carroll is batting .342 with five runs and five RBIs. Signed for a bench role, he's appeared in 103 games. Only Matt Kemp, James Loney and Casey Blake have played in more.
Blake did not start Sunday, with Ronnie Belliard at third base.
Ramirez, out a month with a strained right calf muscle, will be in Los Angeles on Tuesday, when the Dodgers return from their trip, to be re-evaluated, but he's now doing all baseball activities, including running.
Dotel says Broxton should stay confident
ATLANTA -- Two weeks after being acquired by the Dodgers to be a setup man for Jonathan Broxton, Octavio Dotel is now the standby closer when Hong-Chih Kuo is unavailable.
Dotel, however, said Broxton shouldn't be demoralized by his recent demotion.
"Everybody goes through that," said the veteran reliever. "He just has to try to not feel the pressure. Just do what you always do and no more than you're capable of, and things are going to change. Be strong. If you let it get into your head, it's harder.
"One thing I learned as a closer is just throw away the bad thoughts. Right away. You've got to move forward."
Dotel said the reliever who best reflects that approach is, not surprisingly, Mariano Rivera. They played together briefly with the Yankees in 2006.
"Some guys, you can see it in their faces that they trust what they have and how they handle bad days," he said. "Mariano, he's unbelievable, wow. The way he does things like that, he's crazy."
Dodgers lacking offense from catchers
ATLANTA -- Catcher Russell Martin's diminishing offense has been under scrutiny for the past two seasons.
But since he went on the disabled list Aug. 4 with a season-ending hip injury, the Dodgers have gotten even less offense from the position.
Martin, a former Silver Slugger Award winner, was hitting .248 with five home runs, 26 RBIs and 45 runs. Backup Brad Ausmus and callup A.J. Ellis are a combined 4-for-34 (.117) with no homers, one RBI and two runs scored since Martin was injured.
"Offense from the catching spot has been very light right now," said manager Joe Torre. "I don't see any way that's going to change. Not to say they won't get a hit or knock in a run, but we don't have the threat of what Russ can do."
Only days before Martin's injury, the Dodgers traded Lucas May to the Royals in the Scott Podsednik deal. But Torre said, "May wasn't going to be that guy."
May will be out of options next season and the Dodgers felt the converted infielder still needed work on his defense to be Major League playable.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.