A's examine Furcal's medical reports

A's examine Furcal's medical reports

OAKLAND -- Having set club records for use of the disabled list in each of the past two seasons, the A's are leaving nothing to chance in their pursuit for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, who missed all but 36 games of the 2008 regular season with a back injury.

Paul Kinzer, Furcal's agent, confirmed for MLB.com on Thursday morning that the A's, who have used the DL 47 times since 2006, have examined Furcal's medical reports.

Kinzer did not say if the A's have presented a formal contract offer for Furcal, who batted .357 with a .439 on-base percentage, five home runs and 16 RBIs with the Dodgers this season -- the first time since 2001 that he played fewer than 138 games.

Furcal, who made a reported $13 million in the final year of a three-year, $39 million contract and is said to be looking for a deal in the four-year, $40 million-plus range, played in all eight of Los Angeles' postseason games, batting .333 (4-for-12) with a .467 OBP in a National League Division Series sweep of the Cubs before going 4-for-19 (.211) with a home run and three walks (.318 OBP) in the Dodgers' NL Championship Series loss to the Phillies.

Part of Furcal's appeal to the A's, who last week added slugger Matt Holliday via trade in their efforts to upgrade what was one of the worst offenses in the Majors last season, is that Furcal is an unranked free agent as a result of his limited playing time last season and thus would not force the team that signs him to surrender compensatory draft picks.

The A's also have expressed interest in free-agent first baseman Jason Giambi, but general manager Billy Beane, citing his long-standing policy against discussing free agents, declined comment while returning a call from MLB.com on Thursday morning.

Hot Stove

The Giants, Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals also are among the teams said to be interested in Furcal, who went on the disabled list in early May, had surgery in July and didn't return to the Los Angeles lineup until late September.

"The A's have been [interested] all along, and it's been very strong," Kinzer told MLB.com on Monday, adding that the A's had not yet made an offer as of that time.

Kinzer also said that Furcal, the top shortstop on the market, might agree to a deal before the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Dec. 8-11.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.