Cards encouraged by Furcal's elbow recovery
Mozeliak unlikely to pursue shortstop as veteran on track to heal without surgery
ST. LOUIS -- Having received positive updates regarding Rafael Furcal's recovering right elbow, general manager John Mozeliak downplayed the Cardinals' pursuit of another everyday shortstop in free agency.
Furcal, who suffered a ligament strain in his right elbow on Aug. 30, has not yet resumed throwing. However, recent MRI scans show that the ligament is healing properly, and Mozeliak said that, after consulting with head physician George Paletta, "there's reason to believe [Furcal] will be OK" without surgery.
If there continue to be no setbacks, the Cardinals will focus more on improving their middle-infield depth than pursuing another shortstop.
"I probably have to blame myself for talking a lot about shortstop, but right now it's not something we're chasing given that the news on Furcal is positive," Mozeliak said. "Unless we get something that changes courses on that, I don't think we're going to be pounding that as much as people have anticipated."
When Furcal does begin to throw, it will be largely under the supervision of team staff at the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, Fla.
The Cardinals' other rehabbing player, Jaime Garcia, will continue moderate rehab work on his left shoulder for a few more weeks but will then be shut down for December. He'll begin his throwing program, as he would during any healthy offseason, in January.
Like Furcal, Garcia, who was diagnosed with a left rotator cuff strain in October, is attempting to rehab his arm without surgery. He threw a side session at Busch Stadium earlier this week to allow the Cardinals to gauge where he was at.
Mozeliak said the club is confident with Garcia's current status but also feels covered by its depth should the left-hander incur any setbacks. As a result, adding another starting pitcher is not atop the team's winter list or priorities.
Here is a rundown of several other topics Mozeliak discussed on Friday:
The Cardinals are not close to naming an assistant hitting coach to work alongside John Mabry, who moved from that position to primary hitting coach after Mark McGwire's departure. Mozeliak said the search for a second hitting coach is being conducted by Mabry and manager Mike Matheny. Internal and external candidates are being considered.
The organization has until Nov. 30 to tender contracts to its five arbitration-eligible players: Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica, David Freese and Marc Rzepczynski. Mozeliak said he does not anticipate the club non-tendering anyone in that group.
Tuesday marks another upcoming deadline, this one to set the team's 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. The Cardinals have four openings on their 40-man roster and are expected to remove at least one more player before Tuesday. Those openings will then be filled by Minor League players eligible for the December Rule 5 Draft.
Mozeliak said the club will wait until Tuesday before making those additions (and any other potential subtractions) public.
Mozeliak reiterated the club's stance that it will not disseminate information about potential extension talks with players through the media. Adam Wainwright, Freese and Motte are all seen as candidates to talk about extensions with the club this offseason. Wainwright will be a free agent after the 2013 season; Freese and Motte are both arbitration eligible.
Though the Cardinals are still interested in adding a left-handed reliever to the roster, Mozeliak noted that doing so in this market will be a challenge. The Giants' recent signing of lefty Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year, $18 million contract took one of the better options out of play and also set the market value for left-handed relievers quite high.
"I think we knew going in that the lefty relief market wasn't a great place to be shopping, just in the sense that there's not a lot out there," Mozeliak said. "As we look at a lot of our options, it may come from trade."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.