Rafael Furcal will have Tommy John surgery next week, plans winter ball return

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Rafael Furcal has scheduled his Tommy John elbow surgery for Wednesday and told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that his next game action will probably come in the Dominican winter league next offseason.

He’s been given a 6-8 month recovery timetable and the door can probably be closed on whatever slim chance there might have been on Furcal making a late-season appearance for the Cardinals.

Next offseason he’ll hit the open market as a 36-year-old coming off major elbow surgery, which is obviously bad news for a shortstop known for his arm strength. And sure enough Furcal told Hummel that he might start out playing second base in the winter league once he does return, both to bring his elbow along slowly and increase his versatility for a potential 2014 gig.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal to be examined for arm tightness

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Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.

Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.