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06/23/10 7:44 PM ET

Dodgers return to Haeger to slow Angels

When Charlie Haeger last started for the Dodgers, he couldn't record an out. The right-handed pitcher was unable to command his knuckleball from the get-go, allowing the Rockies' first five batters to score four quick runs.

And it made for a long night at Dodger Stadium. Manager Joe Torre, however, shortened it for Haeger, yanking the knuckleballer after only 22 pitches and a little less than 15 minutes.

"The thing is, when he wasn't getting the knuckleball over, obviously, you had the walks," Torre said. "And then when he was, they were getting hits. It was one of those catch-22s, you had nowhere to go."

Nearly a month and a half later, Torre is going back with Haeger in the Dodgers' series-closing game against the Angels. Haeger, who is 0-4 with 8.53 ERA this season, will be activated off the disabled list after battling plantar fasciitis and a sprained big toe.

"I feel no pain in my foot and I'm throwing strikes more," Haeger said. "In the bullpen [Tuesday] I threw a lot of strikes. When I do that, I know I can get the job done."

Aside from rebounding from his injuries, Thursday's outing will determine if Haeger can ultimately reclaim the fifth spot in the Dodgers' rotation. Torre tabbed him over Claudio Vargas as the emergency starter after the knuckleballer tossed six scoreless innings in a Sunday rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque.

"We'll find out about him coming off a good outing," Torre said. "Confidence-wise and physically, we feel the foot is not an issue. He got the knuckleball over in his last start. We're hoping, so we'll see. Potentially he can get deep in the game if all his stuff works."

The Angels, though, are hoping the same for starter Scott Kazmir. The lefty is riding a four-game winning streak, which includes a June 10 win against the Dodgers, and will be looking to spearhead the Halos' sweep of its crosstown rivals.

Dodgers: Furcal returns to lineup
Rafael Furcal returned to the team's lineup Wednesday night. The Dodgers' shortstop was placed on the bereavement list last week and traveled to the Dominican Republic to be with his ailing father, who passed away Sunday.

"He was a pretty good baseball player, they told me," Furcal said. "He always told me and my brother, we could play baseball, but we had to go to school first. He was 79. He was never sick, ever."

Furcal went 0-for-4 in his return to the Dodgers' lineup. Chin-lung Hu was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Furcal.

Angels: Frandsen on fire in second spot
Since manager Mike Scioscia shifted Kevin Frandsen into the No. 2 hole in the lineup, the Halos boast a 4-1 record. Sandwiched between Howard Kendrick and Bobby Abreu, Frandsen is batting .351.

"Wherever he's hit in the lineup, he's squaring it up," Scioscia said. "If he can continue to be productive in the two-hole, it gives us the potential to be deeper. We'll hopefully keep him in that spot until we start to get some guys back.

Worth noting
Without Furcal, the Dodgers had lost five consecutive games. ... Kazmir is 8-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 16 career Interleague starts.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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