Rafael Furcal

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Rafael Furcal
Rafael Furcal at Dodger Stadium 2010.jpg
Furcal with the Los Angeles Dodgers
Free agent
Second Baseman/Shortstop
Born: (1977-10-24) October 24, 1977 (age 37)
Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 4, 2000 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
(through 2014 season)
Batting average .281
Hits 1,817
Home runs 113
Runs batted in 587
Stolen bases 314
Runs 1,063
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Rafael Antonio Furcal[1] (born October 24, 1977),[2] is a Dominican professional baseball second basemen/Shortstop who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins.

Early career[edit]

Furcal attended Jose Cabrera High School and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Braves on November 9, 1996.

He began his professional career as a second baseman with the Gulf Coast Braves in 1997. The following season, with the Danville Braves he hit .328 and stole a league record 60 bases in only 66 games. He was named Danville's Player of the Year and Appalachian League All-Star Second Baseman.

In 1999, he switched to shortstop and joined the Macon Braves in "A" ball and hit .337 with 73 stolen bases in 83 games. He was transferred to the advanced "A" team in Myrtle Beach and hit .293 for them with 23 steals in 43 games. He led all of minor league baseball with 96 steals total. He was named to Baseball America's first team All-Star team and the South Atlantic League All-Star team. In addition, he was the Braves Minor League Player of the Year, the South Atlantic League Most Outstanding Prospect and a Class A All-Star.

Major league career[edit]

Atlanta Braves[edit]

An injury to Braves shortstop Walt Weiss prior to the 2000 season led to Furcal improbably making the jump from "A" ball to the Major League roster. He made his Major League debut on April 4, 2000 against the Colorado Rockies, getting 2 hits in 4 at-bats. His first hit was against Rockies pitcher Rolando Arrojo.

Furcal went on to hit .295 with 40 stolen bases for the Braves and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award that year.

He missed most of the 2001 season because of a dislocated left shoulder, suffered while stealing second base in a July 6 game at Boston.

Returned to the starting lineup in 2002 and tied a modern Major League record with three triples in a game on April 21 against Florida.

Furcal completed an unassisted triple play for the Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 10, 2003. It was the 12th in baseball history. In the fifth inning, the shortstop caught pitcher Woody Williams' liner with the runners moving in a hit and run attempt, stepped on second base to retire catcher Mike Matheny (who later became Furcal's manager in St. Louis) and tagged Orlando Palmeiro before he could return to first.[3]

He was selected to the National League All-Star Team as a reserve in 2003.

In his final season with the Braves, he violated probation on a drunken driving charge, and was ordered to serve 21 days in jail. In an unusual arrangement, the beginning of the jail term was contingent upon the Braves' situation on the playoffs. Once the Braves were eliminated from post-season action, Furcal served his time.[4]

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

Furcal (left) with White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko during spring training action, 2008.

On December 7, 2005, Furcal signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years and $39 million. In September 2006 Furcal was selected as the inaugural winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award was voted on by only his teammates.

In May 2007, he became one of only five Major League players to get 4 hits in each of 3 consecutive games.

Furcal with the Dodgers in 2009.

Early in 2008, he suffered a back injury that kept him sidelined for most of the season, not returning until right before the playoffs started.

In the fifth inning of Game Five the 2008 National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Furcal made three errors to set records for most errors in one NLCS inning and game. He was just the second player to make three errors in one postseason inning. No shortstop had made three errors in one playoff game since Buck Weaver in the 1917 World Series. Two of the errors came on the same play as Furcal booted a routine groundball hit by Pat Burrell and then airmailed his throw behind home plate in a failed attempt to prevent Chase Utley from scoring.[5]

On December 19, 2008, after speculation that he would re-sign with the Braves as a free agent, Furcal signed a 3-year $30 million contract to stay with the Dodgers.[6]

Furcal struggled in the first year of his new contract, hitting only .269 for the Dodgers in 2009. His on-base plus slugging of .711 was also below his career average of .757.[7]

Furcal was added to the 2010 National League All-Star team as a reserve after New York Mets shortstop José Reyes suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw. Furcal walked in his only plate appearance in the game. Due to injuries he only appeared in 97 games for the Dodgers in 2010, but finished with a .300 batting average and stole 22 bases.

In 2011, he spent more time on the disabled list than the active roster for the Dodgers, appearing in just 37 games, during which he hit only .197.

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

Furcal during the 2011 World Series Parade

Furcal was traded along with cash considerations to the St. Louis Cardinals on July 30, 2011 for Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos. In 50 games with the Cardinals, he hit .255 with 7 home runs. In the 2011 World Series, he only hit .179 but picked up his first World Series ring when the Cards won the series by beating the Texas Rangers in seven games.[8][9]

On October 31, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals declined his $12 million option for 2012. The club signed Furcal to a 2-year, $14 million deal on December 10, 2011. During the 2012 season Furcal was batting .264 with five home runs and 49 RBIs until being sidelined with an elbow injury on August 30.[10] An MRI of the elbow revealed damage to a ligament in his throwing arm. Furcal would be placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season in order to undergo four to six weeks of physical rehabilitation in the hopes of forestalling surgical repair.[11] As a replacement for Furcal, the Cardinals called up Pete Kozma from the Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds.[12]

On March 7, 2013 the Cardinals announced that Furcal would undergo Tommy John surgery and would almost certainly miss all of the 2013 baseball season.[13] An off-season program of rest and rehabilitation for his damaged right elbow at first appeared to be successful, as Furcal reported for Cardinals spring training. However a bone spur began to cause discomfort prompting an MRI and examination by Cardinals team radiologist Greg Cizek on March 4, 2013, who recommended surgery. A second opinion from noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews confirmed the diagnosis on March 6, 2013.[13] He became a free agent after the 2013 World Series on October 31, 2013.[14]

Miami Marlins[edit]

On December 6, 2013, Furcal signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins.[15][16] With the younger Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop, Furcal was projected to play second base with the Marlins.[17] He made his Marlins debut on June 13, 2014, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Offseason[edit]

During the offseason Furcal plays for the Aguilas Cibaeñas and resides in Santiago, Dominican Republic with his family.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ESPN – Rafael Furcal Stats, News, Photos – Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB Baseball". ESPN. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Rafael Furcal Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Braves' Furcal turns rare unassisted triple play". SI.com. Associated Press. Retrieved August 20, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Furcal begins serving 21-day stint". ESPN.com. Associated Press. October 12, 2004. 
  5. ^ Dodgers undone by poor fundamentals MLB.com
  6. ^ "Dodgers sign shortstop Rafael Furcal to three-year contract". Losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Rafael Furcal Stats". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Cards Seal Deal for Furcal". St. Louis Post/StL Today. July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  9. ^ Cardinals get Furcal in another 'win-now' deal MLB.com
  10. ^ "Rafael Furcal Injury: Cardinals Shortstop Injures Elbow Against Nationals". The Huffington Post via website. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Kilpatrick, Bryan (1 September 2012). "Rafael Furcal Injury Update: Cardinals SS Officially Out For Season With Strained UCL". SB Nation. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Cardinals put Furcal on disbled list". Sports Illustrated via website SI.com. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Langosch, Jenifer (7 March 2013). "Furcal to have Tommy John surgery, likely out for year". MLB.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "C. Carpenter's future unclear as free agency looms: Cardinals veterans Beltran, Mujica, Furcal also eligible to sign elsewhere". MLB.com. October 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ Short, D.J. (5 Dec 2013). "Marlins agree to one-year deal with Rafael Furcal". 
  16. ^ Frisaro, Joe (December 6, 2013). "Marlins sign Furcal to one-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  17. ^ Frisaro, Joe (December 6, 2013). "Marlins sign Furcal to one-year deal to play second". MLB.com. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Carlos Beltran
Baseball America Rookie of the Year
2000
Succeeded by
Albert Pujols
Preceded by
Preston Wilson
Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year
2000
Succeeded by
Albert Pujols
Preceded by
Preston Wilson
Players Choice NL Most Outstanding Rookie
2000
Succeeded by
Albert Pujols