We heard yesterday that Rafael Furcal was scheduled to undergo an MRI in order to gauge his progress from a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow. The results are in.
According to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on “Inside Pitch” this afternoon that Furcal’s MRI showed that the ligament in his elbow is completely healed. The expectation right now is that he’ll be 100 percent for spring training.
The Cardinals were mentioned as a potential suitor for Indians’ shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but the good news on Furcal means that they will likely turn their attention to other matters. With that in mind, Mozeliak also mentioned on today’s show that he will be in the market for a left-handed reliever and a veteran bat off the bench.
Furcal, 35, batted .264/.325/.346 with five home runs, 49 RBI and a .671 OPS in 121 games with the Cardinals this season. He is owed $7 million in 2013 and can become a free agent next winter.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.