Rafael Furcal out 6-8 months after injuring his right elbow in August. The St. Louis Cardinals made the announcement Thursday after tests revealed a torn UCL in the elbow.
Furcal visited Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida on Wednesday which led to the decision on elbow surgery. Furcal tried rehabbing this offseason instead of immediate surgery, which may have made matters worse.
The news could mean Furcal will miss the entire season, which will hurt the Cardinals infield depth and add questions to who will be the everyday starter. Pete Kozma is the front runner for the position after a great finish to last season. Kozma hit .333 with two home runs and 14 runs batted in during a late season call-up.
The 35-year-old Furcal has missed over 200 games in the past five seasons due to multiple injuries and will practically be shut down this year. A lot of speculation has gone into the thought that Furcal’s career may be over, and who can blame anyone for bringing it up due to the past injuries.
The Cardinals must make a move soon or stick with their in-house options if they expect to compete for the World Series. Elvis Andrus has been the most notable shortstop to come up in recent discussion, as the Rangers have star prospect Jurickson Profar waiting to take over.
Pete Kozma seems the likely fit for the Cardinals heading into the season, but recently acquired Ronny Cedeno has also been mentioned as a possible replacement. The only other player listed as a shortstop in Cardinals camp is Ryan Jackson who has only played thirteen games in the majors.
The St. Louis Cardinals take on the New York Yankees Thursday after beating the Miami Marlins 7-2 Wednesday. Whoever gets the start on Opening Day for the Cardinals has to produce immediately, or else St. Louis will be forced into giving up prospects for a replacement.
The Cardinals traded prospect Alex Castellanos to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011 for Furcal when shortstop Ryan Theriot was struggling.
Now the Cardinals will look for Furcal’s replacement as the spiral continues two years later. Rafael Furcal out for 6-8 months and the Cardinals are left with lots of questions as the 2013 season approaches.