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Furcal could be close to returning to Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal will rejoin the team Saturday to have his knee examined and could return to the field Monday in Houston if all goes well.

Furcal, who has been sidelined since April 11 with a broken thumb, banged his knee while sliding in a rehab game Tuesday with Triple-A Albuquerque.

Furcal is hitting .192 in seven games this season. He is one of several Dodgers nursing injuries.

Infielder Aaron Miles was out of the lineup for Friday night's interleague game with the Chicago White Sox because of a sore rib cage. Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said the injury did not appear serious.

Right-handed reliever Blake Hawksworth will likely return to the team May 27 when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. Hawksworth was experiencing groin discomfort and was placed on the DL so the team wouldn't be short on bullpen arms while he recovered.

He is slated to throw bullpen sessions Saturday, Monday and Wednesday.

Marcus Thames, on the 15-day DL since May 3 with a quadriceps strain, is heading in the right direction and could also return late next week, Mattingly said.

Third baseman Casey Blake received good news from team doctors Thursday night and could begin his rehab assignment as early as Sunday or Monday.

Blake had surgery on his elbow to clean out a staph infection and has been on the DL since April 29. He's hitting .321 with two home runs in 14 games this year.

Closer Jonathan Broxton will visit with doctors this weekend to see if he can progress with his throwing program. Broxton went on the disabled list May 6 with a sore right elbow.

Vicente Padilla, the most recent Dodgers reliever to go on the DL, could begin a throwing program soon. He is sidelined with a sore right forearm.