Rafael Furcal probably has a torn UCL in his right elbow

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The Cardinals lost their third straight game on Thursday night in the nation’s capital. And they might have also lost their starting shortstop.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rafael Furcal is headed back to St. Louis to undergo an MRI for “confirmation” of an ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow.

The 34-year-old All-Star told reporters after Thursday’s 8-1 loss to the Nationals that he felt a “tingle” and then a “pop” before exiting in the sixth inning. Daniel Descalso subbed in, and would likely serve as the Cardinals’ primary shortstop down the stretch if the MRI shows what everyone thinks it will. Semi-prospect Ryan Jackson could be recalled from Triple-A Memphis for depth.

Furcal has started at short in 116 of the Cardinals’ 131 games this season while batting .264/.325/.346.

Descalso, a decent defender all around the infield, owns a .245/.316/.334 career slash line.

Report: Rockies close to signing Bryan Shaw

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rockies are close to an agreement with free agent reliever Bryan Shaw. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Shaw’s deal is for three years and will guarantee about $9 million per year.

Shaw, 30, has spent the last five seasons in the Indians’ bullpen. Over that span of time, mostly setting up for closer Cody Allen, Shaw put up an aggregate 3.11 ERA with a 333/119 K/BB ratio in 358 2/3 innings.

The Rockies have been in hot pursuit of bullpen help after losing Greg Holland and Pat Neshek to free agency. Shaw would certainly represent a significant improvement in the bullpen.