Cardinals' Furcal Hoping for Opening Day Start - The Missourian: Sports

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Cardinals' Furcal Hoping for Opening Day Start

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:45 am

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal and his injured elbow may not be ready for Saturday’s first game of spring training.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny insists that shouldn’t be much of a concern.

“We still have a few days to figure that out,” Matheny said. “He still hasn’t let it go yet so it’s going to be hard to put him out there in a situation where he has to go to his backhand deep in the hole. We know he’s not ready for that.”

Furcal is working his way back from a strained elbow ligament suffered near the end of last season. There was a concern that he’d have to undergo Tommy John surgery, but Furcal chose to try rehab instead.

When healthy, Furcal has one of the strongest arms among major league shortstops. Doctors have him on a plan where he’s still working up to throwing the ball at maximum velocity. He’s participated in Cardinals fielding drills since position players reported on Friday, working on turning double plays on Monday.

From what Matheny has seen so far, he’s expecting Furcal to be ready to start the season.

“I’m not going to have too much of a panic,” he said. “We watched him really take his time last year. He showed up the first day of the season ready to go. That’s what I’m expecting again.”

A 13- year veteran, Furcal hit .264 in 121 games for the Cardinals last season, batting primarily in the leadoff spot.

When Furcal went down last season, the Cardinals turned to former first round pick Pete Kozma. After hitting only .232 at Class AAA Memphis, Kozma responded with a .333 average in 26 games down the stretch and performed solidly in the field. His average dipped to .214 in the playoffs.

Kozma is once again in Cardinals camp, but St. Louis also signed eight-year veteran Ronny Cedeno in the offseason to a one-year deal as insurance.

Most recently with the Mets, Cedeno actually factors into the other position of concern in Cardinals’ camp. He’s one of three players, along with Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter, looking to get the opening day start at second base. Descalso started 66 games at second last season, and Skip Schumaker and Tyler Greene are no longer with the organization.

A slick fielder, Descalso only hit .227 last season, but that average rose to .247 in the final month of the season. He attributes the late success to a shortened swing and believes that if he can continue to swing the bat well in Jupiter, the everyday job at second will be his.

“I think I’ve proven that I can play defense at this level,” Descalso said. “I think that if I can go out there and hit, I should be the guy out there.”

A corner infielder and outfielder coming through the Cardinals system, Carpenter started a couple games at second base last season. In an effort to get his potent bat in the line-up more often St. Louis is having Carpenter work at second base during the spring.

His offseason improvement as a middle infielder impressed Matheny.

“The guy busted his butt,” Matheny said. “He had to completely learn how to field the position. Now he goes out there and looks very natural. He did what he needed to do.”

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Aug. 22

Hermann at Montgomery Co    7:30 p.m.

St. Dominic at Warrenton    7:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Washington    8 p.m.

Owensville at Borgia    8 p.m.

Union at Parkway West    8 p.m.

Pacific at De Soto    8 p.m.

Sullivan at Park Hills Central    8 p.m.

St. James at Cuba    8 p.m.

Trinity at Wright City    8 p.m.

Volleyball

Friday, Aug. 22

@ECC vs. Neosho    11 a.m.

Washington at Marquette    4:45 p.m.

@ECC vs. Labette    5 p.m.

Crosspoint at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. St. Louis Panthers    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 23

@ECC vs. Fort Scott    11 a.m.

@ECC vs. Pratt    5 p.m.

Sullivan at Windsor Tny    TBA

Monday, Aug. 25

Steelville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann at Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Pacific at Seckman    4:15 p.m.

Union at Potosi    5 p.m.

Washington at Francis Howell C    5 p.m.

Pacific at Farmington    5 p.m.

New Haven at Cuba    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Bourbon    5:30 p.m.

St. James at Salem    5:30 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Central Methodist JV at ECC    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Potosi at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Notre Dame at Borgia, 5 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    5 p.m.

Battle at Union    5:30 p.m.

Hermann at Jefferson City    5:30 p.m.

Belle at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

Linn at Owensville    6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29

Mississippi Valley at Crosspoint    5 p.m.

Softball

Friday, Aug. 22

Rolla at St. James    7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 23

New Haven Tournament    8 a.m.

Lutheran South at Sullivan    10 a.m.

Union Tournament

Union Sports Complex

G1 Washington vs. St. Clair, North Field, 8 a.m.

G2 Pacific vs. Liberty, South Field, 8 a.m.

G3 Union vs. Farmington, North Field, 9:40 a.m.

G4 Borgia vs. Park Hills Central, South Field, 9:40 a.m.

G5 G1 loser vs. G2 loser, North Field, 11:20 a.m.

G6 G3 loser vs. G4 loser, South Field, 11:20 a.m.

G7 G1 winner vs. G2 winner, North Field, 1 p.m.

G8 G3 winner vs. G4 winner, South Field, 1 p.m.

Consolation — G5 winner vs. G6 winner, North Field, 2:40 p.m.

Seventh Place — G5 loser vs. G6 loser, South Field, 2:40 p.m.

Championship — G7 winner vs. G8 winner, North Field, 4:20 p.m.

Third Place — G7 loser vs. G8 loser, South Field, 4:20 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 25

*Notre Dame at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

Rolla at Union    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Salem    4:30 p.m.

Belle at Owensville    5 p.m.

Sullivan at Westminster Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Aug. 26

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at Union    4:30 p.m.

Duchesne at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

Steelville at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

Vienna at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Wright City at St. Clair    5 p.m.

New Bloomfield at New Haven    5 p.m.

Hermann at Montgomery Co    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Borgia at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Borgia at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt N at Washington    4:30 p.m.

Bourbon at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Linn    4:30 p.m.

Fulton St. Albans at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29

Pacific at Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

New Haven at Wellsville    4:30 p.m.

Belle at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Battle Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Battle Tny    TBA

Boys Soccer

Friday, Aug. 22

Crosspoint at ER    4:30 p.m.

Festus at Union    PPD, Rescheduled for Oct. 13

#Washington vs. Seckman, Northwest    7 p.m.

Fulton SA at Rock Bridge Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 23

#Washington at Rockwood Summit    Noon

Fulton SA at Rock Bridge Tny    TBA

Sunday, Aug. 24

Heartland at ECC    1 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

*Union at St. James    5 p.m.

St. Clair at Fredericktown    5 p.m.

Pacific at Hillsboro    5 p.m.

Sullivan at SLUH    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Borgia at Union    7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Union at De Soto    5 p.m.

Pacific at North County    5 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5 p.m.

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:15 p.m.

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Friday, Aug. 29

Mississippi Valley at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

ECC at McKendree JV    7 p.m.

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Friday, Aug. 22

Sullivan at Fleet Feet Inv    4 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Borgia at Parkway Central Inv    TBA

Friday, Aug. 29

St. Clair at First Capitol Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Lafayette Inv    9 a.m.

Girls Golf

Monday, Aug. 25

Washington at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Washington at Troy    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

*Borgia at Kennedy    TBA

Boys Swimming

Friday, Aug. 29

Borgia, Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E Inv    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

@Fort Scott Tournament

#Parkway West/Northwest Tournament

Racing News