VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) -Shortstop Rafael Furcal was able to make a statement upon reporting to spring training that he couldn't make at any time last season: He's completely healthy.
``I'm feeling good, I'm feeling 100 percent,'' Furcal said Tuesday before participating in his first workout with the Los Angeles Dodgers. ``If I'm healthy, I can do anything.''
That wasn't the case for the 30-year-old switch hitter last year, both at the plate, on the bases or in the field. Furcal began the season on the 15-day disabled list after spraining his left ankle in an exhibition game March 22, and he was never the same.
He said he wasn't completely recovered until about month after the season ended.
``Last year, I played because I want to win,'' said Furcal, who batted .270 with six homers, 47 RBIs, 87 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 138 games.
Then, he stood up, took a left-handed batting stance, put his weight on his back foot and said: ``Last year, I couldn't do that.''
Two years ago, in his first season with the Dodgers, Furcal hit .300 with 15 homers, 63 RBIs, 113 runs scored and 37 steals in 159 games.
Despite his issues last season, Furcal had an incredible stretch in mid-May where he became the fifth major leaguer since 1952 to collect three consecutive four-hit games.
Furcal showed what he could do during the offseason, playing for the Cibao Eagles in the Dominican Republic and hitting .361 with three stolen bases in eight regular-season games, and .400 with one steal in the Caribbean World Series, completed earlier this month. His two-run homer accounted for his team's scoring in an 8-2 loss to the Licey Tigers in the final game.
``It's like the second big leagues,'' he said. ``You're feeling like you're in the big leagues - you learn a lot of stuff.''
Furcal played his first six big-league seasons in Atlanta before signing a three-year, $39 million contract with the Dodgers that expires after this season. He said he'd love to return next year, but will leave that up to his agent and the team.
``I'm not the kind of guy who thinks about being a free agent, I have to have my best year,'' he said. ``During the season, I want to put my mind on the game.''
One of Furcal's teammates with the Braves was center fielder Andruw Jones, who signed a two-year, $36.2 million contract with the Dodgers during the offseason.
``He's one of the best in the business,'' Furcal said. ``He can help you out with the defense, with the bat. He asked me about the team, I tried to tell him about everybody here. I know he wants to win a championship.
``A teammate, a friend, he's a great player, too. He's my brother, a lot of support for me.''
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