The St. Louis Cardinals made another deep run in the 2012 playoffs, much like they did in 2011. However, the did so without their veteran shortstop Rafael Furcal. Furcal went down with an elbow injury in August. He missed the rest of the season. However, Furcal and the St. Louis Cardinals got encouraging news yesterday about the elbow.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a scan of his elbow revealed that the damaged ligament was completely healed. This means Furcal should be able to return to the team next spring.
“His ligament looked completely healed,” GM John Mozeliak told “Inside Pitch” on Sirius XM radio. “Right now there’s no reason to think he won’t be ready to go and expect a full year out of him. It’s a little bit of a relief for us.”Furcal has spent the last two seasons in St. Louis and has had some success there. However, his productivity has naturally dropped off as he has aged. In those two seasons with the Cardinals combined, Furcal has hit .262/.323/.367. Those are the lowest numbers that he's had with any team in his career. Overall, Furcal is a .281/.346/.403 hitter in his 13-year Major League career.
Furcal's return next season means St. Louis won't have to turn to younger more inexperienced players to man the middle infield. However, Pete Kozma did a nice job in the regular season and the playoffs while filling in for the injured Furcal.
Furcal has one more year worth $7 million on his current deal with the Cardinals. At 35 years old, he may not be attractive trade bait, but if he shows he's healthy and can contribute, the Cardinals may see what they can get in return for him next summer.