Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal opted to rehab a torn ligament in his right elbow rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. So far, that decision has not worked out for anyone.
Furcal began experiencing renewed discomfort in his right elbow a couple of weeks ago in Cardinals camp and continues to feel pain whenever he tries to take another step in his spring workout program. This according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“What do you want me to do?” Furcal said this weekend. “It’s not getting better. I wish I could do whatever I could to make it better, so I could play. It’s very disappointing. I tried to push it a little harder. We’d better back up a little bit because I feel more pain.”
The Cardinals will either have to start Ronny Cedeno at shortstop or figure out a way to bring in someone else. Pete Kozma and Ryan Jackson are the other uninspiring options in the St. Louis clubhouse.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.