When we learned yesterday that Rafael Furcal had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the assumption was that he would undergo Tommy John surgery. That’s not the case. At least not yet.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Furcal will attempt to rehab the injury over the next 4-6 weeks. This timetable leaves open the possibility that he could return if he makes a quick recovery and the Cardinals have another long postseason run. However, the Cardinals will move ahead as if he will not be a factor until 2013. Of course, there’s the chance that the rehab doesn’t work and surgery is required. That scenario would push his return well into the 2013 season.
Furcal, 34, batted .264 with five homers, 12 steals, and a .671 OPS in 121 games this season and is under contract for $7 million next year. Daniel Descalso is expected to get most of the starts at shortstop down the stretch while the light-hitting Pete Kozma was called up from Triple-A Memphis yesterday to provide depth.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.