Mets interested in Rafael Furcal

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In their search for a shortstop alternative to Ruben Tejada the Mets “have contacted” Rafael Furcal, according to Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger.

Castillo reports that Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew are the Mets’ top shortstop targets, but if both get out of their price range (or they decide not to give up a draft pick to sign Drew) then Furcal might make some sense.

Furcal missed the entire season following Tommy John surgery and at age 36 a successful comeback is far from guaranteed, especially at shortstop. He hit just .264 with five homers and a .671 OPS in 121 games for the Cardinals in 2012, undergoing the elbow surgery this spring.

Carlos Martínez to work out of Cardinals’ bullpen for rest of season

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When Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez returns from the disabled list, likely some time next week, he will pitch out of the bullpen, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Martínez has been on the disabled list since late July with a strained right shoulder. The plan is still for Martínez to start in 2019 and beyond.

GM John Mozeliak said, “If you’re going to go down that starting path and you’re starting at ground zero, the likelihood of him being back would be sometime in mid-September. And we’ve done that twice this year and ended up in the same place after a few starts.”

Martínez, 26, has a 3.41 ERA and a 98/49 K/BB ratio in 100 1/3 innings across 18 starts this season. The Cardinals’ rotation currently features Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Luke Weaver, and Austin Gomber.

The Cardinals entered play Monday 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot in the National League, so adding Martínez to the bullpen — or, subtracting him from the rotation, depending on how you look at it — could make a significant impact on the club’s playoff chances.