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Rafael Furcal needs Tommy John surgery, out 6-8 months

Mar 7, 2013, 9:42 AM EDT

furcal getty Getty Images

Rafael Furcal opted against undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in August, choosing instead to rest and rehab his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, but now seven months later the Cardinals shortstop is going under the knife.

Today the Cardinals announced that Furcal will have Tommy John surgery and is expected to be out for 6-8 months, which almost surely means his season is over before it even started. Positive offseason reports about Furcal’s recovery progress convinced the Cardinals not to invest heavily in another shortstop plan, so now they’re left with Pete Kozma or Ronny Cedeno as in-house options to replace him.

Cedeno is a veteran with a solid glove, but he’s hit just .247 with a .290 on-base percentage and .357 slugging percentage in 779 career games through age 29. Kozma played shockingly well stepping into the lineup for Furcal down the stretch last season, but his numbers in the minors have consistently been terrible–including a .223 average and .610 OPS at Triple-A–and there’s little to suggest he’s suited to play regularly in the majors.

And as a 35-year-old shortstop set for major elbow surgery Furcal’s career is now in jeopardy.

  1. mattjg - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I can’t wait for the cavalcade of fans offering their team’s league-average shortstop in exchange for Oscar Taveras and/or Shelby Miller.

    • sportsdrenched - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      nahh, Sports Radio Caller and Facebook Fan has that one under control.

  2. dolphindubs - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Colorado: “Hello?”
    St. Louis: “HeyHey. Soooo….you guys still looking to deal Tulowitzski?”
    Colorado: “Maybeeeee…..”

    MAKE THE CALL STL! (without dealing Tavares)

    • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:55 AM


      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        I went to the IU game Tuesday night (took yesterday off).
        It was a 9:00 P.M. tipoff…and Senior Night.
        Didn’t get out of their until almost 1:00 A.M. And in bed at 3:30 A.M.
        The good guys lost but it was a great time. Crowd was absolutely electric.
        Most proud of the fact that 85% of packed house stayed to watch the Senior Night festivities and IU cut down the nets for clinching the BigTen regular season title.
        Mid week game in the middle of a snow storm no less.

    • darthicarus - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      I was expecting a Call Me Maybe reference at the end of that, so I was a bit disappointed in that dialogue.

    • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      I’d be hesitant to make that deal Tulo is developing a history of injury problems while in his 20s, which doesn’t bode well for his 30s….and he’s getting close to them. He is signed through 2020 (at least), and in 2014 he gets expensive. All that risk if fine…..but I wouldn’t give up a bunch of cheap talent and assume that risk.

      I would much prefer the Cardinals sign Aledmys Diaz….when he becomes available to sign…..or, they can just have a good deep pitching staff with solid to great offense all over the field except for SS (assuming Carpenter continues to show well at 2B and Wong continues to progress).

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        I’d boo you, but I don’t want you to take him…so…

  3. historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:55 AM


  4. chacochicken - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    No shit, really?

  5. blues1988 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    great quote from bernie miklasz the other day:
    “Scott Rolen’s shoulder was fine. Mark Mulder’s shoulder was fine. David Freese’s ankles were fine. Jaime Garcia’s shoulder was fine. Chris Carpenter’s elbow was fine. Lance Berkman’s knee was fine. Jon Jay’s shoulder was fine. Matt Holliday’s back was fine.

    Allen Craig’s knee was fine. Brad Penny’s upper back was fine. Kyle Lohse’s forearm was fine. Troy Glaus’s shoulder was fine. Mark De Rosa’s wrist was fine. Khalil Greene’s anxiety level was fine. Kyle McClellan’s elbow was fine.”

    -So typical of the cardinals staff to pull this shit again.

    • carbydrash - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      This is…disturbing and happens pretty much constantly with the Cardinals. The most disgusting was the Mark Mulder debacle, when they kept throwing him up on the mound when he *clearly* wasn’t fine.

      Tell me other teams fans: does this kind of stuff happen with you very often? Here with the Cardinals, players are constantly *slightly* hurt, play a week, then it turns out their injury will put them out for six months as they were incredibly hurt the entire time. Does this happen to you or is it just a Cardinals thing?

      • Bryz - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        Twins do the same thing. A player gets hurt, the team says it’s a day-to-day injury, and then the player misses several weeks to a couple months.

        They have also misdiagnosed injuries, such as last year with Carl Pavano (elbow or shoulder soreness ended up actually being a forearm bone bruise) or Pat Neshek (I believe that was originally forearm soreness which later was actually his thumb).

        Finally, just like the Cardinals did here, they almost always prescribe rest and rehab for torn UCLs and it never has avoided TJ surgery. It’s so infuriating, especially because rest and rehab typically turns a 12-month recovery period into 14, or in Furcal’s case, 6-8 if it was done in August became 12-14 now.

    • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      There are a couple of things to consider.

      1) The Cardinals have no obligation to release medical details about injuries.

      2) No one ever said that Berkman’s knee was fine, or that Carpenter’s elbow was fine…or any of the hyperbole designed to create a false impression.

      3) Every doctor that looked at Furcal’s elbow last year and in November (including Andrews) did not recommend surgery. By all accounts he tore the ligament making a throw last week.

      ….and yes, fans of every team bitch about their medical staff.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Negative. No probs w/ the Tigers people.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        I call bullshit Paper. In fact…I wish I could give Blues two thumbs ups.
        Or would I really be giving Bernie Miklasz the thumbs up?
        Either way…other than your 1st point I disagree.

      • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Well, on #3, you would be wrong, as every report has said that Furcal was told surgery was not necessary last year….including Andrews. Unless you think they are all lying…which they could be, I suppose….not sure to what end though.

        The point is that the media does little to be unbiased in the reporting of injuries and their reports are always tinged with personal prejudices or axes to grind.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      What blues said. Or would it be Bernie? Either way…spot on.

  6. philliesblow - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    The Tigers will gladly give you Jhonny Peralta to fill the void if STL will send Jason Motte in return.

  7. thecatlover86 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Don’t want to give up tavernas and still get as?
    Elvis Andrew miller/rosenthal
    2 years of an all star ss for a potentially good starter and (at least for now a reliever) fixes both teams problems(cardinals still have Kelly for the 5 spot and fix there ss problem for at least 2 years with a player that has upside) and the rangers fix there pitching problems

    • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      Andrus isn’t available….and there is no way the Cardinals would trade both of those guys. You can never have too much starting pitching, and they plan to keep all of their young guys unless they get blown away by a deal….because they know some of them are bound to struggle or get hurt.

  8. thecatlover86 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Andrus dam auto correct

  9. randygnyc - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I don’t think the cards have any chance of getting Tulo without trading Taveras.

  10. elmo - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    That’s too bad. Furcal is a very good player, but if it wasn’t for all the injuries he might have been one of the all-time greats.

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Eduardo Nunez for Matt Carpenter?

    • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:14 PM


      • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        To expand, the Cardinals already have plenty of below average options. They won’t be trading a valuable player unless it brings them a clear upgrade….so, no Hardy, not Nunez, no fat guy playing SS for Detroit….and probably no Cabrera since his defense is so bad he gives away most of his offensive value.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Did someone complain about just the no?

      • paperlions - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        No…..just heading off any potential for a litany of non-upgrade trades.

        When I saw your desire to “boo”, I assumed it was because I couldn’t remember Peralta’s name….was in a hurry and it wasn’t popping into my head.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        Hey! Leave my desire alone. >:(

        I was not rheferencing Jhonny in any whay.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      A 2nd No.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Where you been, Woodpecker?

  12. johnstjc - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    i have a feeling the rockies would shed either the carlos gonzalez or tulo contract if they got blown away

  13. albertmn - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Cards should get by with their internal options for now. If they all stink, then make a minor deal to get a good glove guy that maybe doesn’t hit great. If it nears the trade deadline and it looks like you can make a playoff run, but need a better SS, then make a big deal then. They have a lot of pitching and solid to great hitting at nearly every other spot, so you can get by with a SS that isn’t an All Star with the bat.

  14. makeham98 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Meanwhile Cardinal fans lobby for the return of David Eckstein. . .

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      Or Brendan Ryan. At least with Ryan…you know what you are getting with the glove.

      • spudchukar - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        If Brendan Ryan were available for a B level prospect, I would jump at the chance of adding him. A team can live with a short stop that can’t hit, but not one who cannot field.

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