One of the St. Louis Cardinals' biggest potential concerns appears to have been mollified.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal, who did not have surgery immediately on the torn ligament in his right elbow, an injury suffered in late August, apparently will not need an operation.
Furcal has been on a strengthening program since he was hurt, and he also received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in early September. After he was examined in mid-November by the club's medical staff in Jupiter, Fla., site of the Cardinals' spring training, it was determined that Furcal can report to spring training and not have to undergo surgery.
General manager John Mozeliak said, "Right now, there's no reason to think he won't be ready to go. (The Cardinals) expect a full year out of him. It's a little bit of relief for us.
"His ligament looked completely healed."
Furcal hit .264 with a .325 on-base percentage as one of the Cardinals' catalysts in 2012, and he was a starter in the All-Star Game. He will be on the second year of a $14 million, two-year contract.
The Cardinals, who got a lift from rookie Pete Kozma late in the season and for much of the playoff hunt, were believed to be seeking a shortstop in the marketplace, but now their sights probably are on a reserve who can play both middle-infield positions.