It didn’t take long for Rafael Furcal‘s health to become an issue for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. The elbow woes that ultimately ended the shortstop’s season in 2012 are still present, as both a torn ligament and bone spurs in his throwing arm have made healing all but impossible. The organization has shut him down from all hitting and throwing activities indefinitely, making it seem unlikely he’ll be ready to go by opening day.
Furcal, 35, started off 2012 red hot, but slumped so badly down the stretch that he finished with just a .671 OPS in 121 games. The switch-hitting table setter, who eventually lost his job as the leadoff hitter to Jon Jay, is entering the second year of a two-year, $13 million deal given to him prior to the start of last season.
Despite Furcal’s health problems and obvious decline, he may still be the best man for the position in an organization completely deficient at shortstop. Without Furcal penciled into the lineup, shortstop duties may well fall to recently signed journeyman Ronny Cedeno, although he could wind up sharing the duties with the likes of Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso.