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Furcal placed on DL with broken thumb

Furcal placed on DL with broken thumb

Furcal placed on DL with broken thumb
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers placed shortstop Rafael Furcal on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a broken left thumb and recalled infielder Ivan De Jesus from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Furcal broke his thumb on a head-first dive while stealing third base Monday night against the Giants. His thumb was blocked by the knee of Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Hand specialist Dr. Steven Shin told the club Furcal will not require surgery. He will have the thumb in a split for three weeks, then begin a rehabilitation. Typically, the injury requires four to six weeks for total recovery.

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After learning of the severity of the injury Monday night, a downcast Furcal mentioned retirement, but the Dodgers dismissed that as frustration.

"He's a sensitive guy and it really bothers him," said manager Don Mattingly. "He's down and frustrated. He feels like he's letting the guys down."

Jamey Carroll becomes the starting shortstop in Furcal's absence. Mattingly said Tony Gwynn, who is hitting .333 and is 3-for-3 in stolen bases, would be the leadoff hitter and left fielder for most games. Mattingly said against left-handed pitching he might lead off with Juan Uribe, Carroll or Aaron Miles.

The timing of Furcal's injury really puts the Dodgers in an infielder bind as third baseman Casey Blake is still out with a deep left thigh bruise, although Mattingly said he was hopeful Blake could return to the lineup Wednesday night.

De Jesus' promotion is seen as a short-term fix with a player already on the 40-man roster. He's primarily a second baseman, not a shortstop, and the club wants him to play every day at Triple-A rather than sit on the bench in the Major Leagues.

Veteran Juan Castro would have been a more logical replacement, but he's a non-roster player at Albuquerque and the Dodgers are in a 40-man roster jam. De Jesus made the Opening Day roster but went 0-for-7 with a walk and was optioned April 5 to make room for the return of Blake from the disabled list.

Furcal is already the seventh Dodger to be placed on the disabled list this season. He was hitting .192 with four runs scored and one stolen base in seven games, having just returned after missing two games with a sore left wrist.

This is Furcal's fifth visit to the disabled list in his sixth season with the Dodgers. His other injuries were a badly sprained ankle in 2007, a herniated disk in his lower back that required surgery in 2008 and last year a recurrence of the back problems and a strained hamstring believed to be related to the back.

Furcal is in the final guaranteed year of a three-year contract that pays him $12 million in 2011 plus a $1 million conditioning bonus. There also is a 2012 club option for $12 million that would have vested with 600 plate appearances this year. He has reached 600 plate appearances once in the last three seasons.

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

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