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.

Yasiel Puig just blew Game 7 of the NLCS wide open

Yasiel Puig
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So much for a Game 7 nail-biter. The Brewers and Dodgers were separated by just one run for the first five innings of Saturday’s NLCS finale, but a monster three-run shot from Yasiel Puig boosted the Dodgers to a four-run advantage in the top of the sixth.

The timing couldn’t have been better for Los Angeles. Brewers’ left-hander Josh Hader entered the game in the third inning and dominated the opposition for three scoreless innings, then was replaced on the mound by fellow lefty Xavier Cedeño. Cedeño promptly issued a leadoff single to Max Muncy to start the sixth and, just as promptly, was lifted for right-hander Jeremy Jeffress. After giving up another base hit to Justin Turner, it looked like Jeffress turned a corner. He induced a fly out from Manny Machado, then got Cody Bellinger to ground into a force out to shift the Dodgers’ runners to the corners with two outs.

That didn’t faze Puig, however. After appearing in 10 playoff games without a single home run, the outfielder blasted a 1-1 knuckle curve to center field to pad the Dodgers’ lead.

With three innings left to play, it’s still too soon to say whether or not the Dodgers just punched their ticket to the World Series. They lead the Brewers 5-1 in the seventh.