St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal has been shut down indefinitely due to inflammation in his right elbow. It's unclear if the veteran will be ready to start the season, and the team is now looking into alternatives, including Pete Kozma and Ronny Cedeno, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
St. Louis continues to hope that Furcal's recent setback won't force the shortstop to miss an extended period of time. However, considering his recently injury history and age, the Cardinals could be forced to depend on another regular shortstop at some point.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters that the team is holding "an open competition" at shortstop in Furcal's absence. Cedeno offers experience, while Kozma provides more upside, according to Langosch.
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Cedeno has spent eight seasons in the majors, during which time he started 531 games at shortstop. He's started at least 81 games at short in four of his eight years in the league. However, the 30-year-old doesn't offer much in the way of offense, as he's a career .247/.290/.357 hitter. Last season he hit .259/.332/.410 in a reduced role with the New York Mets.
Kozma only has 89 major league plate appearances to his name, but he was impressive during his time with the Cardinals last season. Over 72 plate appearances the 24-year-old hit .333/.383/.569 with 10 extra-base hits.