Rafael Furcal activated, leading off

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup, leading off.

Furcal had been on the DL since Aug. 11 and hadn't played since Aug. 2, the night he was lifted after six innings with what turned out to be a lower-back strain.

Furcal went 3-for-5 with a double, triple, home run and 4 RBIs during a two-game rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Albuquerque this week. More importantly, he was able to test his back enough to come away fairly confident that it is 100 percent healthy.

"He had a couple of backhand plays, not really tough ones but backhands nonetheless," said Stan Conte, the Dodgers' director of medical services. "He also ran out a double and a triple. He had no tightness [Thursday] and no tightness today."

Furcal has hit in the leadoff spot in all but five of the games he has started this season, but Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he normally will hit second for the rest of the year behind left fielder Scott Podsednik. Podsednik, a left-handed hitter, was out of the lineup against Giants left-hander Barry Zito. Podsednik is 1-for-7 in his career against Zito.

The Dodgers also recalled catcher A.J. Ellis from Albuquerque.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.