Rafael Furcal (born August 24, 1978 in Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic) is a shortstop in Major League Baseball who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Called up from the minor leagues by the Atlanta Braves to replace the injured Walt Weiss for 15 days, he went on to take the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Furcal completed an unassisted triple play for the Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 10, 2003. It was the 13th in baseball history and, as of April 2006, the most recent. In the fifth inning, the shortstop caught pitcher Woody Williams' liner with the runners moving in a hit and run attempt, stepped on second base to retire catcher Mike Matheny and tagged Orlando Palmeiro before he could return to first .
On the Braves, Furcal was a valued leadoff hitter due to his speed and ability to get on base. Furcal is regarded as one of the best basestealers in baseball. He is an accomplished bunter, once bunting the ball past Robin Ventura for a double in 2001. Furcal has one of the strongest throwing arms in the league and is regarded as an adequate if not spectacular defensive shortstop.
On December 7, 2005, Furcal signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years and $39 million, and officialized the signing by passing his physical.