Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon tosses the ball to second base to force a runner… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)
Be patient, Rafael Furcal said. The kid who replaced him as the Dodgers starting shortstop will be fine.
Furcal played at Dodger Stadium on Friday, marking the first time he had done so since the Dodgers traded him last year to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Furcal, who spent the previous 5 1/2 years with the Dodgers, went into the game hitting .367, second in the National League. Dee Gordon, who made Furcal expendable in the view of Dodgers management, had a batting average of .207 and an on-base percentage of .247.
"He's still young," Furcal said. "He's going to learn a lot. He's a smart guy. The first year in the big leagues, you try to do too much. That happened to me. Just play."
Other than problems Furcal encountered selling his longtime residence in La Canada Flintridge — he described the housing market as "malo" — his move to St. Louis has resulted in a significant turn in fortune.
At the age of 34, Furcal won his first World Series ring.
When he returned to his native Dominican Republic during the off-season, he said a parade was held in his honor. More than 25,000 people attended, he said.
And now, he's healthy.
"Right now, I'm so happy, I'm so excited, to be healthy," he said.
His only regret was that he rarely felt this way with the Dodgers. Over the previous four seasons, Furcal played 140 games only once.
"I don't like to watch games," he said. "I like to play games."
The first FanFest
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the Dodgers will hold their inaugural FanFest on Saturday.
The event, which will take place in Dodger Stadium's parking lot 6, will run from noon to 7:10 p.m. Gates to the parking lot will open at 11:45 a.m. Admission is free with a ticket to the game that night.
The Dodgers' entire active roster, excluding Saturday starter Clayton Kershaw, will take part in 30-minute autograph sessions.
Matt Kemp will be interviewed on stage at 1:10 p.m. by Dodger Talk host David Vassegh. Manager Don Mattingly will speak to sportscaster Gary Miller at 12:45 p.m. General Manager Ned Colletti will be interviewed by broadcasters Charley Steiner and Rick Monday at 3:30 p.m.
Vin Scully will make an appearance at 3 p.m. The Dodgers' other Hall of Fame broadcaster, Jaime Jarrin, will appear alongside Spanish-language partners Fernando Valenzuela and Pepe Yniguez at 4 p.m.
Sidelined utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. took part in running drills and is on track to be activated at some point next week. Hairston is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday. … Juan Uribe's arthritic left wrist will be examined by a hand specialist Tuesday.