Well aware that this was always a plausible outcome, the Cardinals are now stung with the reality that they will get no help from shortstop Rafael Furcal this season.
A day after Furcal sought Dr. James Andrews' opinion on his ailing right elbow, the organization announced that Furcal will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. With an expected six-to-eight month recovery following the procedure, Furcal is unlikely to play in 2013.
"You know for me, especially myself and my family, it's very disappointing," Furcal said on Thursday. "I worked so hard in the offseason to get everything straight, I was working hard with the doctors and the trainers and doing anything I could do to be ready for Spring Training and be ready for the season. It's tough for me to say that I'm going to lose the whole year. For me, I feel like I don't know where my mind is right now. I can't describe it. It's a tough situation for me."
Furcal's removal from the roster picture leaves Pete Kozma in line to assume the starting shortstop duties. The Cardinals also have Ronny Cedeno available as a backup option, but they seem inclined to give the first try to Kozma, who shined when he replaced Furcal at the position late last season.
"There's no doubt given what Kozma did for us in the last six weeks of the season last year, we do have a high level of confidence that he can continue to add that energy and be that type of player that we saw last year," general manager John Mozeliak said.