Rafael Furcal is expected to return as the Dodgers shortstop Sunday. Less certain is where he'll hit in the batting order.

Tony Gwynn Jr.'s emergence as a capable leadoff hitter could thrust Furcal lower in the order.

"More than anything, he's taken over that leadoff spot and that's really an area that we've scrambled with all year," Manager Don Mattingly said of Gwynn, who was batting .274 in the leadoff spot before Saturday's game as opposed to his overall .255 average.

Furcal, who has batted exclusively in the leadoff spot this season, said he didn't care where he hit.

"If they want me to hit eighth, seventh, it doesn't matter," said Furcal, who has been on the disabled list since June 4 because of a strained side muscle. "Whatever the team needs."

Furcal expressed confidence that the 22 at-bats he accumulated during his rehabilitation assignment were sufficient to regain his timing at the plate.

When Furcal came off the disabled list in May after only 13 at-bats in minor league rehab games, he was one for 22 in his first five games back with the Dodgers.