Furcal on track to start Tuesday

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers decided to wait until Tuesday to activate shortstop Rafael Furcal from the 15-day disabled list, something manager Joe Torre had been hinting at for several days.

Furcal responded well physically after playing in an extended spring training game on Saturday and remains on track to be in the starting lineup when the team begins a six-game trip against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"It's a combination of [reasons],'' Torre said of the extra time. "It just lets him have the assurance of a couple of extra days and the fact we have to decide what we're doing."

The Dodgers, who are off on Monday, have to clear a roster spot for Furcal. The most obvious choice to go would be little-used infielder Nick Green, but cutting him probably would mean losing him. He is a veteran major leaguer who must clear waivers before he can be sent outright to the minors, and even then he would have the right to reject the assignment.

Torre said Saturday that second baseman Blake DeWitt, who does have minor league options, could be the odd man out. But DeWitt entered Sunday's game with Detroit on a five-game hitting streak that included two doubles, three triples and four RBIs.

Torre said Sunday that with the fifth starter's spot not due to come up until at least Friday, the club could cut to 11 pitchers until then.

Also Sunday, Torre was at a loss to explain the sudden drop-off of usually reliable reliever Ramon Troncoso, who had been burned for four earned runs -- and three home runs -- in two-thirds of an inning over his last two appearances. He gave up a homer to the first batter he faced on Saturday, Detroit's Brennan Boesch, and was lifted after facing four batters, sandwiching a walk and a hit batsmen around a double-play grounder.

"It just looked like he was overthrowing the ball," Torre said. "It looked like his ball wasn't going north and south as much as it was going east and west. It was just sort of hanging there. When I went out there to take him out of the game, [catcher] Russell [Martin] said he was overthrowing the ball."

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.