Rafael Furcal suffers torn hamstring


Rafael Furcal‘s career began in impressive fashion for the quick-footed infielder. His combination of speed, range, and ability to get on base made him an instant piece of the Atlanta Braves lineup and earned him Rookie of the Year honors in 2000. Furcal proved his merit from there, consistently being a reliable producer in the lineup through the 2006 season, his first with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Injuries took their toll from there and continue to plague the 37 year old free agent.

Furcal has reportedly suffered a torn hamstring while playing in the Dominican Winter League, according to ESPN Deportes’ Dionisio Soldevilla. Furcal will miss the remainder of the DWL season.

There hasn’t been any indication which hamstring was torn, but this proves to the latest in a series of issues that Furcal has endured with his legs over the past twelve months. Furcal missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right arm. The Miami Marlins, looking to add a veteran presence into their infield at second base, signed Furcal to a deal that guaranteed him $3.5 million once he made his way into the Marlins’ lineup.

Furcal appeared in 21 games in the minor leagues – batting .307/.381/.333 in 84 plate appearances against pitchers nearly 13 years younger than him – before joining the Marlins in early June. With Miami he saw time in just nine games – hitting .171/.216/.229 in 37 PA – before suffering a hamstring injury and landing on the disabled list. Miami shut him down for good by mid-August, as Furcal underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue.

There has been little reported interest surrounding Furcal this offseason. The Philadelphia Phillies were known to express an interest shortly after dealing Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. There could be a few other possible fits if Furcal is open to signing a minor league deal. This latest injury, however, raises further questions about how well he can hold up.

Dating back to the 2008 season, Furcal has only twice played in more than 100 games due to a variety of injuries. In that same time frame the speed that was once such a key part to his game has largely vanished, at least as far as being a stolen base threat goes, and his ability to get on base has diminished.

Furcal is a career .281/.346/.402 hitter over 14 seasons. He can still provide veteran leadership and postseason experience (a .227/.306/.336 line in 285 PA) to a team but the injury history and questions eliminate any chance at him seeing a major league deal. At best Furcal may need to accept a minor league offer and prove himself again in the minor leagues, only joining the big league club once he proves his health. It remains to be seen how enticing that idea might be to the three-time All Star.

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