Posted March 09, 2012 on AP on Fox
C7
(Eds: With AP Photos.) Rafael Furcal didn't have to think hard about re-signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, even after they declined to pick up his contract option. Furcal, a trade deadline pickup who was one of the keys to the Cardinals' World Series run, got a two-year, $14 million contract. ''Who wouldn't want to come back to a team that won the World Series, especially when you enjoy a team that is competitive every year,'' Furcal said. ''You want to be there. I like to win. I don't like to lose.'' The 34-year-old Furcal filled voids last season at leadoff, batting at the top of the order in 50 games, and at shortstop, where he helped to solidify the defense. The Cardinals went on a wild ride after Furcal arrived from the Dodgers, falling 10 1/2 games back in the NL wild card standings before launching a September charge that capitalized on the Braves' collapse. Furcal's return provides stability to a position that's had lots of turnover lately. The organization that had Ozzie Smith at shortstop for more than a decade will enter this season with its fifth starter in five years. Furcal follows Ryan Theriot, Brendan Ryan, Tyler Greene and Cesar Izturis. Royce Clayton, Edgar Renteria and David Eckstein each had at least three opening-day starts in the dozen years preceding the current revolving door. ''A team that preaches pitching to contact, working ahead in the count, getting ground balls - you better have a shortstop that can help you out or else you are going to have some trouble in your philosophy with your pitching,'' first year manager Mike Matheny said. Though he has no Gold Gloves, Furcal is widely regarded as an above average fielder with one of the best arms in the game. ''He's got a cannon, no question,'' Matheny said. ''He loves to show it off.'' Keeping Furcal allowed the Cardinals to move Greene to second base, where he'll get the first opportunity at winning that job. A career .282 hitter, Furcal is among many veterans in camp who can set their own pace. He's been dogged by injuries in recent seasons, with a fractured left thumb and a strained oblique that put him on the 15-day disabled list in 2011, and hasn't played 100 games in three of the last four years. ''He's getting his body ready,'' Matheny said. ''He's got 12 years in the league, he knows what he has to do, and he seems to be getting there.'' Case in point: Even though Furcal said he's healthy, he didn't start in Sunday's intrasquad scrimmage. ''I don't have to show anybody the way I can play,'' Furcal said. ''I think as long as I can be healthy there isn't anything I can't do.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cardinals spring phenom named Matt will return to earth

Don’t get me wrong. I like Matt Adams as a player. In fact, he is The Cardinal Nation’s ninth-ranked prospect in 2012. On the other hand, the 22-year-old is not going to continue to produce as he has over the first four games of spring. Sure, let’s give him credit for the grand slam against the Mets and the bases-clearing triple to help sink the Red Sox on Thursday. On the...

Poll: With Carpenter injured, should Cardinals go after Roy Oswalt?

With Chris Carpenter sidelined with neck stiffness, should the Cardinals bring in Roy Oswalt as an insurance policy?  Vote now! - Photo courtesy of Getty Images Friday was a day of ups and downs for St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Matheny watched one of his co-aces, Adam Wainwright, effectively return to game action for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery...

Chambers takes wardrobe advice from No. 51

JUPITER, Fla. - Soaking up advice, suggestions and tips has been a goal for Adron Chambers this spring. Even if it's about how to wear his uniform. Hoping to make the Cardinals roster as a reserve outfielder, the 25-year-old Chambers has been trying to pick anyone and everyone's brain that is willing to talk. And that includes guest instructor and former Cardinals fan favorite...

Garcia not content with previous success

JUPITER, Fla. By evidence of his four-year, 27 million contract that begins this season, left-hander Jaime Garcia doesn't have to worry about his spot in the rotation. After another solid campaign last year, the 25-year-old Cardinals starter has a spot reserved for him this year despite how good or bad he performs this spring. But don't tell that him. "I came in...

Roy Oswalt willing to play anywhere

Free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt recently told teams around the league that he was going to sit out the start of the season. At the time, it appeared he was only looking at the Cardinals and Rangers as potential destinations due to the close proximity to his Mississippi home. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com notes that Oswalt is now telling teams that he is willing to go anywhere, but still...

Red, Whitey, TLR to be honored in Cooperstown

Two of them have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame and the third will be, and all have managed the St. Louis Cardinals to World Championships. Now, Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa will be honored together as part of the Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 21 in Cooperstown. The event is held during the annual Hall of Fame Weekend at Doubleday Field the...

Eduardo Sanchez strikes out four in spring training debut

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Eduardo Sanchez made his spring training debut on Thursday, tossing two innings while striking out four Red Sox hitters in the Cardinals 9-3 win. - Photo courtesy of Getty Images Many St. Louis Cardinals fans are curious to see how young reliever Eduardo Sanchez does this spring.  Sanchez, who appeared in 26 games for the Cardinals during his rookie...

Cardinals P Carpenter scratched from start due to neck issues

St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has been scratched from Monday's start to ongoing neck stiffness. Carpenter left the team's training camp Friday to be re-evaluated by a doctor. He has been dealing with the neck problems for a week. The 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner, who will turn 37 next month, went 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA in 34 starts. Carpenter was...

Report: Roy Oswalt Now Open to Playing Anywhere, Eyeing Possible June Return When His Kids Are Out of School

Roy Oswalt was one of the most prolific hurlers on the open market when the MLB offseason began. Now, five months later, the three-time All-Star is still without a new home. The 34-year-old righty has reportedly drawn plenty of interest, including from the Red Sox, but he hasn't yet received a suitable offer. Oswalt is now telling teams he'll play anywhere, though, according...

Chris Carpenter 'Never Got in a Rhythm,' Struggles in Red Sox' Loss to Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. –– Chris Carpenter was the victim of the joke again. As the pitcher walked to the mound at Roger Dean Stadium Thursday, the Cardinals public address announcer introduced him as "the other Chris Carpenter." During the seventh inning of St. Louis' 9-3 win over Boston, he nearly looked the part of St. Louis' former Cy Young Award winner, retiring...

Cardinals make second cuts of spring

The St. Louis Cardinals reassigned seven players to minor league camp on Thursday. Among them are system-wide top 10 prospects Kolten Wong and Tyrell Jenkins.

Garcia sharp in Cardinals 9-3 win

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Beckett increased his repertoire of pitches for his second spring training start, and the result was similar to his first outing. Beckett gave up two hits in three scoreless innings but the Boston Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-3 on Thursday. He has allowed three hits and no runs in five innings this spring. "I threw everything I wanted...

Cardinals 3, Twins 2

Adam Wainwright pitched two scoreless innings in his first start in over a year, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Wainwright missed all of last season after having elbow ligament replacement surgery and hadn't pitched since Sept. 24, 2010. He walked one and struck out two Friday. Wainwright's return for the Cardinals was balanced...

NL Central preview: St. Louis Cardinals

Today's National League Central preview features the 2011 World Champions -- the St. Louis Cardinals. To say the Cards had a magical run last season would be a vast understatement. The club squeaked into the playoffs thanks to a late surge and a colossal collapse by the Braves to capture the Wild Card. They then outlasted the heavy-favorited Phillies in five games in the NLDS...

Injury woes 2012

It would not be a St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training without health questions surrounding a key player, and once again a member of the starting rotation is awaiting test results analysis and a diagnosis before throwing again. But the name attached this time is all too familiar to these situations: Chris Carpenter. All the facts of this story can be found in Joe Strauss’s STLtoday...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.