Big League Stew

Rafael Furcal contemplating retirement after latest injury?

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Rafael Furcal's Los Angeles Dodgers career has been sidetracked by a laundry list of injuries ranging from nagging to season-ending. That list grew by one on Monday night in San Francisco, but will it prove to be the final one?

After sitting out Saturday and Sunday with a lingering wrist ailment, Furcal returned to his customary spot atop the Dodgers lineup, and promptly broke his left thumb while sliding head first into third base (pictured above). It appears the break occurred when his thumb made contact with Pablo Sandoval's shin as he attempted to block the base.

Furcal will visit a hand specialist before a timetable is set for his return, but the recovery time for such injuries is usually four to six weeks.

And that's assuming Furcal even wants to return. {YSP:MORE}

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From MLB.com:

"It's broken," a despondent Furcal said of the thumb that was in a metal splint. "I got to see the doctor tomorrow in L.A. It's bad. Two days off and come back and break my finger. "I think about retiring if I'm not healthy. I feel so good with my back, now this — what do you think I am thinking?"

There's a really good chance Furcal will back off of those comments once he collects his thoughts. Los Angeles Times baseball writer Dylan Hernandez suggested as much when he tweeted that it sounded like Furcal was speaking out of frustration, but it's still clear the physical toll of his 12-year big league career has taken a mental toll on the once elite shortstop.

The injury will also take its toll on the Dodgers' already short-handed infield. Casey Blake is dealing with a thigh bruise and has only appeared in three games so far. That leaves Juan Uribe, Jamey Carroll, Aaron Miles and one of either Juan Castro or Ivan DeJesus to fill three positions.

It's also worth noting that Furcal has a $12 million club option for 2012. That option would have vested with 600 plate appearances in 2011, but that's obviously out the window. Losing out on $12 million would be enough to frustrate anyone.

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