Rafael Furcal’s elbow is not all better

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal was supposed to make his 2013 Spring Training debut in the field over the weekend. Now he may not be playing at all in 2013. 

The veteran 35-year-old shortstop suffered a set back in the rehab of his partially torn ligament in his throwing arm and the news is obviously not good [via Fox Sports Midwest]

"He's just not feeling good and kind of went in a bad direction," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

"We don't know the severity of it, but it wasn't good news. "I'm not getting too far ahead in any one direction, but we know that he's done quite a bit of rehab and to go backwards isn't necessarily a good sign." […]

"Right now, he's just having pain standing around," Matheny said. "With the way he's talking, it sounds like the ligament may be problems. We don't know for sure, but things are pointing in that direction."

Furcal, as you might remember, elected to rehab the elbow rather than get surgery. He missed the final month of the 2012 season and the entire playoffs, but was expected to make it back in time for Spring Training, if all was healed. The obvious risk in that approach was that it would not heal and he'd have to undergo surgery anyway, forcing him to miss an entire season rather than just a chunk of it. Furcal is entering his final year of a two-year, $14 million deal he signed before last season. 

With Furcal out and his season looking bleak, the Cardinals will again likely turn to youngster Pete Kozma, who filled in admirably for the final 26 games of 2012 (.333/.383/.952) and played well against the Nats in the NLDS. Kozma has picked up right where he left off last season with nine hits in 20 at bats this spring. The Cardinals also added Ronny Cedeno in the offseason for insurance, but I have to believe it's Kozma's job to lose now.