Sidelined shortstop Rafael Furcal could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment as soon as next week, trainer Stan Conte said.

Furcal was able to field grounders and throw Monday, something Conte described as a significant step, considering he was hurt doing exactly that. Furcal, who has batted .212 in 17 games, was put on the disabled list June 4 because of a strained side muscle.

Conte said Furcal is sprinting without any problems and can hit pain-free from the right side. He said the switch-hitter still feels slight discomfort when hitting from the left side.

"He could go out for a rehab assignment when we go on the road," Conte said.

The Dodgers open a three-game series in Minnesota on June 27.

Rookie Dee Gordon has taken over as the Dodgers' shortstop in Furcal's absence. Gordon went into Monday batting .298 with four steals in 12 games.