The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that Rafael Furcal will be placed on the 15-day disabled list and in his place they will activate infielder Pete Kozma. Furcal was sent back to St. Louis after last night’s game feeling a pop in his elbow. The team is calling it a “right elbow strain,” however pops are not good. There is rumbling that he may require Tommy John surgery, which could have him missing the beginning of next season. But that is still just speculation as the team hasn’t announced the results of his examination today yet.
Pete Kozma was recalled from Triple-A Memphis last night and activated today. He will start at shortstop tonight against the Washington Nationals for his third career Major League start.
Kozma, 24, was drafted in the first round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He had a short stint in St. Louis last season where he hit .176/.333/.235 with 1 RBI in 22 plate appearances over 16 games. He logged just 15 innings at short stop, spending 29 innings at second base and 1 inning at third base.
In Memphis this year, Kozma still hasn’t put up the numbers the team has been looking for. He was passed on the organizational depth chart this year by Ryan Jackson who has gotten the bulk of the playing time at shortstop with Kozma making the move primarily to second base. He is hitting .230/.292/.355 with 11 HRs and 63 RBI in 131 games. He has a .951 fielding percentage at shortstop in 45 games there this year.
But most importantly, he shares a birthday with me, instantly making me a fan. (The last Cardinal to share a birthday with me was unfortunately Josh Hancock.)
It’s curious to me that the team elected to bring Kozma up rather than Ryan Jackson. Jackson is hitting better and plays a better shortstop. Yet Kozma will do tonight more at shortstop this season in the majors than Jackson has. Jackson appeared in all four of his games at second base. It’s true that once a player is sent down he has to wait 10 days before he can be recalled to the majors again. However, there is an exception if you’re placing someone on the disabled list.