Furcal returned to his home in the Dominican Republic to be with an ailing family member.
To take his roster spot, the club recalled infielder Chin-lung Hu from Triple-A Albuquerque. Hu is with the big-league club for the first time this season.
Players placed on the bereavement list must miss at least three games but can miss no more than seven games. That means the Dodgers will be without Furcal, their leadoff man and offensive catalyst, through at least the first two games of this weekend's three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"I got a call from him at 1 o'clock [Thursday] morning," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "It's one of those things where, when you're managing, you have things that come up in the middle of the night, and this was one of those. He knows he can take as long as he needs. Hopefully we'll get him back soon and everything will be OK."
Second baseman Blake DeWitt moved into the leadoff spot for the first time this season against Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo, mostly because left-handed hitters are batting .311 against Arroyo, but Torre said he will decide on a game-by-game basis who bats there.
Jamey Carroll started in place of Furcal at shortstop and probably will do so for the duration of Furcal's absence.
Furcal had been hot, batting .367 (18 for 49) over his past 11 games with three doubles, two triples and two home runs.
Hu was batting .298 for Albuquerque and had been hitting especially well recently, going 12 for 36 with two homers, eight runs scored, five RBIs and a .351 on-base percentage in his past 10 games through Wednesday. The Isotopes were playing at home against Omaha, and Hu wasn't expected to arrive in time for Thursday's 12:35 p.m. ET start in Cincinnati.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.