MLB

Staying in St. Louis an easy call for SS Furcal

Share This Story

   
 

JUPITER, Fla. (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)

Rafael Furcal didn't have to think hard about re-signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, even after they declined to pick up his contract option.

Furcal, a trade deadline pickup who was one of the keys to the Cardinals' World Series run, got a two-year, $14 million contract.

''Who wouldn't want to come back to a team that won the World Series, especially when you enjoy a team that is competitive every year,'' Furcal said. ''You want to be there. I like to win. I don't like to lose.''

The 34-year-old Furcal filled voids last season at leadoff, batting at the top of the order in 50 games, and at shortstop, where he helped to solidify the defense.

The Cardinals went on a wild ride after Furcal arrived from the Dodgers, falling 10 1/2 games back in the NL wild card standings before launching a September charge that capitalized on the Braves' collapse.

Furcal's return provides stability to a position that's had lots of turnover lately. The organization that had Ozzie Smith at shortstop for more than a decade will enter this season with its fifth starter in five years.

Furcal follows Ryan Theriot, Brendan Ryan, Tyler Greene and Cesar Izturis. Royce Clayton, Edgar Renteria and David Eckstein each had at least three opening-day starts in the dozen years preceding the current revolving door.

''A team that preaches pitching to contact, working ahead in the count, getting ground balls - you better have a shortstop that can help you out or else you are going to have some trouble in your philosophy with your pitching,'' first year manager Mike Matheny said.

Though he has no Gold Gloves, Furcal is widely regarded as an above average fielder with one of the best arms in the game.

''He's got a cannon, no question,'' Matheny said. ''He loves to show it off.''

Keeping Furcal allowed the Cardinals to move Greene to second base, where he'll get the first opportunity at winning that job.

A career .282 hitter, Furcal is among many veterans in camp who can set their own pace. He's been dogged by injuries in recent seasons, with a fractured left thumb and a strained oblique that put him on the 15-day disabled list in 2011, and hasn't played 100 games in three of the last four years.

''He's getting his body ready,'' Matheny said. ''He's got 12 years in the league, he knows what he has to do, and he seems to be getting there.''

Case in point: Even though Furcal said he's healthy, he didn't start in Sunday's intrasquad scrimmage.

''I don't have to show anybody the way I can play,'' Furcal said. ''I think as long as I can be healthy there isn't anything I can't do.''

Tagged: Cardinals, Rafael Furcal

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..