(KSDK Sports) -- It was August 30, 2012 when shortstop Rafael Furcal went deep into the hole to get a ground ball. He gloved it, pivoted and made the throw, but a wince of pain appeared on his face. His season was done.
Rafael Furcal was shut down in with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which is the same injury that requires Tommy John surgery for pitchers.
Shortstops are pretty reliant on their arm strength too, but Furcal opted against surgery and so far at least that looks like the right call. An offseason MRI exam showed that the ligament had healed on its own and now Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Furcal has been cleared to hit, field, and throw.
Manager Mike Matheny made it clear that the Cardinals will monitor Furcal and his spring training workload closely, but he's in line to be the Opening Day starter