Rafael Furcal has been battling elbow pain in his right elbow this spring. Up until recently, he had been playing through it, but even with limitations all month, Furcal will not continue baseball activity.
The Cardinals’ starting shortstop was shut down on Saturday, feeling increasing pain in his elbow once he tried to start hitting from the left-side. Furcal is a switch-hitter, but had been staying away from the left side of the plate during the spring to try to limit his elbow pain.
It was Furcal’s decision not to undergo surgery after he partially tore his ulnar collateral ligament on August 30th. The Cardinals agreed to let him try to rehab instead of undergo an operation, hoping it would be enough to have an offseason of rehab and rest.
After brief progress and improvement before Furcal declared a “bone spur” issue, the concern now shifts to whether the ligament is damaged again.
The Cardinals will have an MRI for their shortstop in the next few days which will help indicat e the immediate path of action for the team. If Furcal is due to miss any time during the regular season, St. Louis will likely turn to its role players to eat up time at shortstop.
Players such as Ronnie Cedeno and Pete Kozma figure to get the first short-term look.
Cedeno hit: .259/.332 with 4HR and 22RBI in 166 ABs for the Mets last season and had over 400 at bats with the Pirates in 2010 and 2011.
Kozma spent most of 2012 in AAA but was called up for 72 AB and was on the playoff roster for the Cardinals. Kozma hit: .303/.373 with 2HR and 15RBI to provide a boost down the stretch for St. Louis last year.
Jason Bartlett and Munenori Kawasaki remain Free Agents capable of playing major league shortstop, but the Cardinals are unlikely to sacrifice a roster spot for a short-term solution and may seek a trade if Furcal is expected to miss extended time.