Rafael Furcal’s injury to his elbow was expected to keep the St. Louis Cardinals shortstop out of commission until Sunday, that return has been put on hold. Furcal is now out indefinitely. The 35-year-old is trying to come back from a torn-ligament in his elbow that he suffered last season. Instead of undergoing Tommy John Surgery, Furcal and the Cardinals opted to rehab his elbow which has now spiraled into a situation where Furcal may not even see the field in 2013.
According to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Furcal began experiencing pain in his elbow again a few weeks ago at the Cardinals Spring Training camp in Viera, Florida. The discomfort continued through daily workouts until he was shut down indefinitely on Sunday. Ronny Cedeno seems to be the best in-house option for the Cardinals, who have also mentioned Pete Kozma as a possible replacement.
“It’s very disappointing,” Furcal told Hummel. “I tried to push it a little harder.We’d better back up a little bit because I feel more pain.”
Cedeno has struggled this Spring, hitting just .167 in 11 at-bats. The less-experienced Pete Kozma has swung the bat much better, hitting .353 in 17 plate appearances. Outside of Cedeno and Kozma, the Cardinals could make a move for an established starter before the season starts. According to Yahoo Sports, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera are potentially on the market. Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers has also been mentioned as a possible trade candidate.
The St. Louis Cardinals now have their work cut out for them looking to replace one of Major League Baseball’s best shortstops. Furcal has always been a top-tier infielder with lots of speed and an aggressive swing.
Don’t expect the Cardinals to make a move right away, but you can guarantee they will be checking in with multiple teams about trade possibilities over the next few weeks. If the right opportunity comes, you could see prospects like outfielder Oscar Taveras and pitcher Trevor Rosenthal dealt away.
If a trade can’t be made before Opening Day, the Cardinals will more than likely use both Ronny Cedeno and Pete Kozma in a rotation scenario.
Rafael Furcal’s injury will have players scrambling to prove themselves over the last few weeks of Spring Training, and I wouldn’t doubt that head coach Mike Metheny will hold on to a few more infielders as insurance for any continued struggles by Cedeno or Kozma.