Furcal has surgery; Gagne improving

Furcal has surgery; Gagne improving

LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers' $39 million shortstop, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday to remove torn cartilage. Trainer Stan Johnston said Furcal will be sidelined two to three weeks and is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

Johnston also said that closer Eric Gagne, who had elbow surgery June 24, is throwing from 60 feet on flat ground and also is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

J.D. Drew, however, is still healing slowly from shoulder surgery. Drew has said he expects to refrain from hard throws for most of the spring to allow the shoulder to continue healing. His wrist, which also underwent surgery, apparently is healed.

Coaches introduced: Johnston provided the update after a Dodger Stadium news conference introducing the new coaching staff of manager Grady Little. It's an eclectic group and one that debunks the notion of a buddy network.

None of the seven has worked for general manager Ned Colletti, although he did retain coach Manny Mota and bullpen catcher Rob Flippo and promote two from the Dodgers' Minor League staff -- pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and first-base coach Mariano Duncan.

New bench coach Dave Jauss was handpicked by Little (they worked together in Boston).

"His knowledge and recall ability is second to nobody," said Little, who was briefly on the same Cleveland coaching staff as new hitting coach Eddie Murray.

But there appear to be no ties with new third-base coach Rich Donnelly and bullpen coach Dan Warthen.

The lack of familiarity between those hired and those hiring is not normal in baseball, but Little said he's comfortable with the staff and the way it was selected.

"You know by the things you see and the results of the people, how they work and their work ethic, and the things you're told by people you trust," Little said.

Colletti said his network of contacts left him equally confident the staff will be a good one.

"You know people who know people and you talk to them and do the homework," he said.

Murray returns: This will be Murray's third tour with the Dodgers. He played three seasons from 1989-1991, leaving as a free agent. He finished his career in 1997, playing nine games in August and September after being released by the Angels.

"You have no idea how excited I am," said Murray, who lives in a Santa Clarita Valley suburb of Los Angeles. "We've got these guys coming up soon in the organization. We've got a pretty good club here now. This is a pretty good opportunity right now for us to win.

"When this happens, you call buddies to get what they feel. People have said some pretty good things about this team. That's what you want to hear. It's some kind of nice when people tell you, 'Wait till you see this shortstop, or that young player come up.' Two years ago we [the Indians] had the most guys at the All-Star Game than anybody. We sent five hitters there. That's something to be proud of. Hopefully I had something to do with it."

Murray said one of his strengths as a hitting coach comes from one of his talents as a hitter.

"I was good at getting out of slumps," he said. "You hope you save them before they get into them."

Promoted from within: Farm director Terry Collins, in line for the manager job until general manager Paul DePodesta was dismissed, said he was not contacted about a position on Little's coaching staff.

"But I'm proud that we were able to send Rick Honeycutt and Mariano Duncan up there, because they both did good jobs," said Collins. "The other guys on the Minor League staff see that you can get to the big leagues. These two guys sure are deserving of it."

Collins said he still wants to return to a Major League position on the field.

"But right now I've got a job to do," he said.

Collins is scrambling to fill the holes in his staff. Double-A Jacksonville coaches Kenny Howell and Steve Yeager will be promoted to pitching and hitting coaches at Triple-A Las Vegas. Jerry Royster and John Shoemaker will return as managers at Las Vegas and Jacksonville. Luis Salazar will probably move up from the Gulf Coast League to Vero Beach and replace Scott Little, who took a field coordinator job with Washington.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.