Rafael Furcal is currently rehabbing a strained ligament in his right elbow. He was originally given a 4-6 week timetable, which left open the long shot possibility that he could return if club goes on another deep run in the postseason, but the Cardinals closed that window today.
According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has officially ruled Furcal out for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.
Furcal received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow on September 4, but has yet to resume throwing. Mozeliak still believes he’ll be able to avoid surgery, but said the clock simply “was not on our side” for him to contribute again this year. The 34-year-old shortstop batted .264 with five homers, 12 steals, and a .671 OPS in 121 games this season and is under contract for $7 million in 2013.
2007 first-round pick Pete Kozma has emerged as the starting shortstop in Furcal’s absence. The 24-year-old launched his first major league home run in yesterday’s win over the Cubs and has another one tonight against the Astros.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.