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, Sept. 26

Washington at Union    7 p.m.

*Borgia at Duchesne    7 p.m.

*St. Clair at St. James    7 p.m.

*Owensville at Pacific    7 p.m.

*Sullivan at Hermann    7 p.m.

Cuba at Liberty Wentzville    7 p.m.

Warrenton at Parkway West    7 p.m.

Wright City at Mark Twain    7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Softball

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington 7, Ft. Zumwalt S 2

North County 2, Union 1

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 24

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

New Haven at Valley Park    4:30 p.m.

Waynesville at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Borgia at Rosati-Kain    4:30 p.m.

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

*Sullivan at Union    4:30 p.m.

Pacific at Windsor    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Linn    5 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 26

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

Owensville at Rolla Tny    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 27

Borgia, Hermann at Montgomery Co Tny    TBA

Owensville at Rolla Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 29

Borgia at Trinity    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Salem    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at De Soto    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Wright City    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Borgia at Union    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Rockwood Summit    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament

Washington def. Montgomery Co., 25-22, 25-14

Borgia def. Pacific, 25-13, 25-14

Washington def. Montgomery Co., 25-8, 25-14

Borgia def. Pacific, 25-13, 25-16

Pacific split with Montgomery Co., 25-9, 24-26

Borgia def. Washington, 25-16, 25-23

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Sullivan at Northwest    4:15 p.m.

*ECC at Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Crystal City at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament

Consolation — Pacific vs. TBA, 4 p.m.

Semifinal 1 — Borgia vs. TBA, 5 p.m.

Semifinal 2 — Washington vs. TBA, 6 p.m.

Third-place match, 7 p.m.

Championship match, 8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 26

Crosspoint at Mississippi Valley    4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

%Northeastern Oklahoma at ECC    10 a.m. (Seed Tournament)

%Longview at ECC    11:30 a.m.

%Cottey at ECC    2:30 p.m.

Owensville at Chamois Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 29

Union at Hillsboro    5 p.m.

Borgia at Lafayette    5:30 p.m.

Washington at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Bourbon    5:30 p.m.

Cuba at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Rolla    5:30 p.m.

ECC at Rend Lake    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4 p.m.

*Hermann at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Eureka at Washington    5 p.m.

*Union at St. James    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Sullivan at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Panthers Home School    5:30 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro 3, Union 1

Washington 0, Bayless 0

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Warrenton at Sullivan    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*St. Charles at ECC    4 p.m.

Valley Park at Fulton SA    4:15 p.m.

#Thomas Jefferson at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m. (Pacific)

*Pacific at Union    5 p.m.

Sullivan at Borgia    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Friday, Sept. 26

*Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Belle    5 p.m.

Crosspoint at Mississippi Valley    4:30 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 27

CYC Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 29

Northwest at Pacific    4:15 p.m.

*ECC at St. Louis (Florissant)    4:30 p.m.

*Borgia at Duchesne    6:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Fulton SA at John Burroughs JV    4:15 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    5 p.m.

*Sullivan at Pacific    5 p.m.

Calvery Lutheran at St. James    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Mary’s    6:15 p.m.

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News