JUPITER, Fla. — Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal has been slowed by renewed pain and discomfort in his right elbow and was a limited participant the past two workouts.
Furcal missed the final month of the regular season and playoffs last year with a partially torn ligament in his elbow. He was limited to left-handed swings Thursday and Friday and didn’t put much effort into throws after reporting pain following a strenuous workout on Wednesday.
“We knew he was feeling it the day before,” manager Mike Matheny said Friday. “We just keep watching him and figure we’ll take what we can get when we can get it and realize that last year he was on an adjusted program from the beginning ever.”
The 35-year-old Furcal hit .264 in 121 games for the Cardinals last season. He was injured on a throw during a game in Washington on Aug. 30 and didn’t play again the rest of the season.
An MRI in late November showed Furcal’s elbow to be completely healed but he arrived in camp on a throwing program that has yet to call for him to throw with maximum effort.
He served as the designated hitter and hit right-handed during Friday’s coach-pitch scrimmage. When asked if the pain should be called a setback, Matheny said, “I’m sure you guys will.”
Asked more about how Furcal’s soreness should be described, Matheny said, “However you want. We’ve been very clear that he’s going to be slow in going and it’s going to be one of these things you guys sit here and ask me about every day and I’m going to give you the same answers. I’m going to listen to him and we’re going to watch. We know exactly what’s going on there. There’s going to be days he feels better and days he’s not.”
Furcal is apparently dealing with more in his elbow than just the ligament. MLB.com reported late Thursday that Furcal is also dealing with a bone spur in his elbow and has taken anti-inflammatory pills to try and ease the pain.
“We’ve always been concerned, but in terms of the soreness, it’s probably a case of him doing too much yesterday,” general manager John Mozeliak said Thursday. “Still we are going to back off and slow him down a little bit.
“I’m not at the point where I am worried about Opening Day, but I also don’t want to act like it’s a slam dunk.”