I so enjoyed watching Rafael Furcal play shortstop for the Dodgers. He was a wizard on the field and a key cog during the 6 years he was in Los Angeles. Per Ned Colletti in a story written by Tony Jackson at ESPN:
"When he was at the top of his game and healthy, that was when the offense moved."I remember those days well. With Furcal at the top of the order he became the main juggernaut to the teams offense. He was a table-setter and eventually a leader for many of the young stars coming through the Dodger system.
Unfortunately, injuries became his undoing. He spent an awful amount of time on the DL, and I remember witnessing one of the events that lead him there. While chatting with a former OC Register reporter at Vero Beach, Furcal and Jason Repko met in a mighty crash in the outfield. Furcal was hurt badly and I vividly remember vocally screaming, "NO!" I also remember how good he was, and I don't mean on the field. He once chose to sign with the Dodgers because the team offered to give his hometown a firetruck; which is the subject of the photo I used for the fantasy Baseball card above.
As you surely know by know, it was announced last night that Rafael Fucal has announcement his retirement from the game. Via an AP report:
''To play in the major leagues for 14 seasons was a dream come true,'' Furcal said in a statement. ''I love the game, but at this point, I don't feel like I can play up to my standards anymore and want to spend more time with my beautiful family.''Fair thee well, Rafael!
Below are some more links to check out:
- Eric Stephen at True Blue LA has contract details for Hector Olivera, here.
- Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider shares a live-blog from the Andrew Friedman conference call from yesterday afternoon, here. He also has a live-blog of the Hector Olivera conference call here.
- Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors also has some nice quotes here.
“My whole career I played second base, but I don’t think I’m in the position to decide where I should play or to say what my preference is,” said the Cuban star when asked what position he is most comfortable playing. “Wherever they put me, I’m going to give my best…Wherever they put me, they’ll see results.”
- Since Jon helpfully provided a photo of Olivera in a Dodger uniform I decided to make a new fantasy card for him. Check it out on the right. This time, I used the 1971 Topps design. Click on the pic to embiggen.
- Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers plan to stretch Pablo Fernandez as a starter."
"We're going to get him to Arizona as well and start the process of stretching him out," Friedman said. "The upside scenario is that he's a starter for us at some point this year."
And not a moment too soon.
- We'll find out today whether Hyun-Jin Ryu will chose surgery on his shoulder, via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com.
Friedman said surgery is an option, but insisted doctors were still in discussions and a final decision had not been made.
"It hasn't progressed as quickly as we all hoped," Friedman said. "He's worked extra hard to get back, and it isn't happening as quickly as we'd like. It's not a totally clear, a black and white issue. It's more involved than you think."
- Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily shares, "10 Great Sandy Koufax Cards."
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