On the St. Louis Cardinals injury front, general manager John Mozeliak feels both pitcher Jaime Garcia and shortstop Rafael Furcal have “positive outcomes” in their respective rehabs, as relayed by the Post-Dispatch.
However, the reports leave this reader with several questions.
Garcia was out from June 6 through August 18, then was returned to the disabled list early in the post-season. A tear in his rotator cuff and shoulder inflammation were mentioned as the culprits.
The left-hander traveled to multiple specialists this fall, with at least one recommendation for surgery offered. Ultimately, Garcia opted to follow a treatment program rather than go under the knife.
Yet, the Post article noted the following.
“Mozeliak said during his conversations with trainers Tuesday ‘the word surgery never came up’ for either Furcal or Garcia.”
The potential good news is that Garcia threw 25 pitches from the Busch Stadium mound on Monday and will move toward a normal off-season schedule.
While his ultimate 2013 availability won’t be known until spring training and beyond, the Cardinals have a number of other starting pitching options if Garcia cannot answer the bell. They include Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller.
Furcal missed the final month and the entire 2012 post-season due to a tear in his elbow. Again, rest and rehab was chosen over surgery. Furcal had a September injection with a goal of returning in October, but those hopes did not come to pass.
While Mozeliak says he is encouraged by Furcal’s progress, the article notes that the 35-year-old has been home in the Dominican and is scheduled to return to the US to be re-evaluated by the Cardinals medical staff this coming weekend. As of yet, Furcal has apparently not even thrown a baseball.
Granted, we don’t have access to the same information as the club, but I have to wonder if the Cardinals want to make it appear to the outside world that they are less desperate for middle infield help than they may/should truly be.
The shortstop market is fairly thin, and especially this early in the off-season, prices are reportedly high.
Mozeliak was very clear in his on-the-record assessment of the Furcal “news.”
“It does mean we don’t have to chase a shortstop at this point,” the GM declared.
Given Furcal’s age, checkered medical history and the Cardinals’ thin middle infield, let’s hope that is more market conditioning talk than reality.