Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan Is Released as Cards Look Ahead; No Surgery Needed for Garcia, Furcal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan Is Released as Cards Look Ahead; No Surgery Needed for Garcia, Furcal

Article excerpt

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made an immediate move Tuesday to start clearing roster space on the same day he received news that could influence future moves.

The Cardinals gave reliever Kyle McClellan, the longest-tenured member of the bullpen, his unconditional release, sending the righty into free agency even as he tries to rehab from an arm injury. Two other Cardinals recovering from arm injuries, pitcher Jaime Garcia and shortstop Rafael Furcal, have made encouraging progress, Mozeliak said after receiving reports from his medical staff. Garcia threw off the mound Monday and Furcal will have his elbow re- evaluated this weekend as part of his rehab. It's the improvement from Furcal that could modify Mozeliak's winter wish list.

"Knowing that the two players we're talking about have had positive outcomes in (their rehabs) provides optimism," Mozeliak said. "It's something you consider in your offseason strategy. It does mean we don't have to chase a shortstop at this point."

Garcia was placed on the disabled list during the postseason with a tear in his rotator cuff and inflammation inside his shoulder. A tour of specialists commenced, and though surgery was one recommendation for the lefty, after a consultation with Dr. James Andrews, he pursued a treatment program to avoid a procedure. On Monday at Busch Stadium, Garcia threw about 25 pitches off the mound. He will continue physical therapy this month and by December begin a "normal offseason," Mozeliak said.

The current plan is to have him on the preparation regimen in January, though the Cardinals have said the success of Garcia's recovery won't be clear until he pitches during spring training. Garcia has acknowledged that his hope to avoid surgery means sticking to exercises and treatment.

Furcal, likewise, sought to avoid surgery to repair a tear in his elbow.

Such a procedure would push back his availability for 2013 and enhance the Cardinals' need to explore the shortstop market this winter. Furcal's health would change the Cardinals' urgency, but the club acknowledges a need to at least explore depth options in the middle infield.

Furcal is scheduled to return from the Dominican Republic this weekend, and he'll meet with members of the medical staff in Florida to have his elbow reevaluated. The shortstop's agent said Furcal has not yet attempted baseball activities such as throwing. Paul Kinzer said his client is "very confident he'll be ready at the start of the year." Mozeliak said during his conversations with trainers Tuesday "the word surgery never came up" for either Furcal or Garcia.

McClellan has a similar spring training target in mind, though for the first time in his career he no longer knows the team he'll be on. The St. …

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