Furcal shut down indefinitely due to elbow pain
Increasing right elbow pain has forced Rafael Furcal to cease all baseball activity indefinitely and leaves the Cardinals with growing uncertainty about their shortstop situation just four weeks before Opening Day.
“He went in a bad direction,” manager Mike Matheny said of Furcal, before the team’s game against the Nationals on Sunday. “I don’t know the severity of it, but it wasn’t good news.”
Furcal has thrown with limitations since reporting to Spring Training, though he made what looked like a step forward when the switch-hitter resumed swinging from the left side last week. Adding that stress to his ailing right elbow, however, appears to have been too much.
Since taking several at-bats in a “B” game on Thursday, Furcal has not felt right.
“We know that he’s done quite a bit of rehab, and to go backwards isn’t necessarily a good sign,” Matheny said. “Right now, he’s having pain just standing around.”
The Cardinals knew Furcal’s situation would be precarious after the shortstop opted not to undergo surgery when he suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament on Aug. 30. Furcal hoped that rest and rehab would be sufficient enough to heal his elbow.
Furcal provided positive progress reports to the club throughout the offseason but never did reach a full recovery. Last month, Furcal described a bone spur as being the reason behind his limitations. The concern now, though, is that the ligament has again been compromised.
Furcal is expected to have another MRI taken on his elbow in the coming days, though Matheny didn’t have any details about when or where that examination would take place. If it’s deemed that Furcal needs surgery to address the injury, he’d likely be looking at a four-to-six month recovery that could jeopardize his season.
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