Furcal gets cortisone shot, second MRI
Shortstop feels good, could resume rehab by Monday
LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal was not at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Instead, he rested at home after receiving a cortisone shot and an MRI for his strained back in the morning.
The results of the MRI showed no changes from the first MRI the Dodgers shortstop received when he was initially hurt, after an awkward twist in the field on Aug. 2. The cortisone shot, applied to a specific part of the spine, also went well.
"It's very nice that you have the right spot and the injection went where you wanted," team trainer Stan Conte said.
Before the cortisone is injected, a numbing agent is administered, and if the numbing agent is in the appropriate spot, the pain disappears immediately. It takes several days for the cortisone to take effect. In Furcal's case, the shot appeared to find the right location: He was at home resting and feeling great, said Conte, who texted him.
If all continues to go well, Furcal is to travel to Arizona by Monday to continue his rehab at the Dodgers' Spring Training complex. He would not immediately resume baseball activities.
Furcal's pain is in the same area that required disk surgery in 2008 but is not because of the same problem.
"I don't think anyone's surprised that occasionally he's going to have some back pain for two reasons," Conte said. "One, he had surgery on his back; two, he plays a position that requires him to do a lot of different things, and his volume is huge. He's a leadoff hitter, he steals bases and he plays shortstop."
Weaver to head out on brief rehab stint
LOS ANGELES -- Reliever Jeff Weaver doesn't necessarily need to go on a rehab assignment, but it's a luxury the Dodgers can afford at the moment.
Weaver, out since Aug. 3 with tendinitis in his left knee, is slated to return to the team on Aug. 30 after two rehab appearances for Class A Inland Empire this week. The right-hander is to throw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium on Sunday before heading to San Bernardino, where he's scheduled to throw one inning on Tuesday and then another on Friday or Saturday.
It was possible that Weaver could have returned without rehabbing as soon as Saturday had the Dodgers needed help in the bullpen. But fill-in starter Carlos Monasterios gave the Dodgers just enough on Friday that Weaver wasn't immediately needed. He remains available if an injury or another need arises.
"He might as well go out and throw to hitters," manager Joe Torre said. "He's there if we happen to get a case of the shorts."
Weaver, who turns 34 on Sunday, is 5-1 with a 5.35 ERA in 37 innings this season.
Manny's return has domino effect on lineup
LOS ANGELES -- Jay Gibbons was slated to play first base for the first time since 2005 and Scott Podsednik was moved to the bench on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, moves both related to the activation of Manny Ramirez.
In Gibbons' case, manager Joe Torre said he was mostly looking to give first baseman James Loney a day off. Loney, batting .271, has gone 0-for-4 in both the last two games.
But Gibbons likely won't see as much time in the outfield as he would've before Ramirez came back from the disabled list Saturday. Infielder Juan Castro was designated for assignment, leaving only Ronnie Belliard to come off the bench as a natural infielder. That means Belliard will see fewer pinch-hit appearances, and that Podsednik joins Gibbons and Reed Johnson on a crowded bench.
Gibbons said he was told by Torre on Friday night that he would play first, and Gibbons said he was happy to see the playing time. Comfortable, though, might not be the best way to describe how he feels around the bag.
"I just going to try to be a goalie over there," said Gibbons, who had played first base 86 times in the Majors and also saw action there this season for Triple-A Albuquerque.
Torre said he will play the matchups to keep Podsednik in the mix. Podsednik has been in a bench role only one other time in his 10-year career, in 2008 with the Rockies after an injury-shortened season the year before.
"It was obviously different for me," Podsednik said. "It's a little bit of an adjustment. It's not easy, by any means. It went about as good as about I could expect it to go, doing it for the first time."
Torre said he had talked to Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp about the necessity to play the matchups, but had not talked to Podsednik. Podsednik is scheduled to start Sunday.
Castro went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in his only start for the Dodgers. He is a likely candidate to return as a September callup.
Ex-Dodger Baker happy in job with Reds
LOS ANGELES -- Reds manager Dusty Baker talked on Friday before the start of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium of the interest he once had in taking over the Dodgers, before Joe Torre was hired.
"I thought about it when I was out in 2007. I threw my name in the hat, but they wanted Joe," said Baker, who played eight seasons for the Dodgers. "Hey, man, I'm happy right now where I am. I got a job."
Neither Torre, 70, nor Baker, 61, are under contract for next season, and Torre is considering retirement. Baker's job with the first-place Reds could make him a prized candidate this offseason.
"I just got that the other day, the offer," Baker said. "I have work to do where I am. I'm trying to get this team to the playoffs. I don't have time to think about what else and where else. These are my boys. They got my back and I've got theirs."
Scully to announce future plans on Sunday
LOS ANGELES -- Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully will announce his future plans before Sunday's Dodgers game with the Reds, the club confirmed Saturday night.
Scully, 82, has been the voice of the Dodgers for 61 years and has been working on a one-year contract since 2009.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.