ST. LOUIS -- Rafael Furcal was unavailable for the Cardinals' game Wednesday after having an epidural, an anti-inflammatory injection, to address continued stiffness in the shortstop's lower back. General manager John Mozeliak said the club is optimistic Furcal will be cleared to return to the field in Thursday's series finale.
Furcal has been limited by back stiffness for nearly two weeks. He sat out five games when the stiffness was at its worst and has started four of the team's six games since. This back pain has also led to periodic episodes of a tingling sensation in Furcal's leg.
Mozeliak described Furcal as having hit a plateau in his rehab work to alleviate the stiffness altogether, which is why the decision was made to gain relief by having an injection.
Furcal has not been on the disabled list this season, but back ailments have sidelined him in the past. Surgery on his lower back cost Furcal more than half of the 2008 season. In 2010, he missed a month due to a lower back strain.