Rafael Furcal injury: Cardinals SS eyeing winter ball return

Dilip Vishwanat

Rafael Furcal is set to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing elbow on Wednesday.

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal is set to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing elbow on Wednesday, according to Rick Hummel of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Furcal is likely to miss the entire 2013 campaign, and he told reporters that the next game he participates in might be in the Dominican Winter League.

Furcal initially injured his elbow last August. Rather than undergo surgery following the 2012 season, Furcal and the Cardinals decided to give rehab a try. He told reporters that everyone involved was "very confident everything was going to be fine." Teammates Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto underwent similar rehab programs and recovered to avoid surgery, but it unfortunately did not work for Furcal.

Furcal received a clean bill of health when he first arrived at camp, but he quickly faced a bone-chip setback before further tearing his ligament during spring drills. He admits that the upcoming year is going to be "long," but he realizes that if he wants to continue his playing career he'll have to work hard to get healthy.

Furcal will likely have his next opportunity to prove his health in the DR over the winter. A pending free agent, the 35-year-old knows he may have to prove his capability at multiple positions in order to draw more suitors this offseason.

The current plan, according to Furcal, is to start out playing more second base. He has played third, but believes it will be more difficult on his elbow. After easing back into second base, Furcal said his goal is to eventually return to short.

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