Rafael Furcal was shut down in August with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which is the same injury that requires Tommy John surgery for pitchers.
Shortstops are pretty reliant on their arm strength too, but Furcal opted against surgery and so far at least that looks like the right call. An offseason MRI exam showed that the ligament had healed on its own and now Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Furcal has been cleared to hit, field, and throw.
Manager Mike Matheny made it clear that the Cardinals will monitor Furcal and his spring training workload closely, but he’s in line to be the Opening Day starter.
Scott Lauber of the Philly Inquirer reports that the Phillies have agreed to terms with infielder Danny Espinosa. He’ll report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
This will be Espinosa’s fourth organization this year, as he has spent time under contract with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Dodgers in 2018, being released by all three teams after a few weeks. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2017, hitting a mere .173/.245/.278 in 93 games for the Angels, Mariners and Rays. He hit 20 homers a couple of times way back in the day, though, and I guess that — and the humility to accept minor league assignments — will earn you shots if you’re a good guy and you’re in decent shape.