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Furcal returns to see Cards after surgery

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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal returned to the Cardinals' spring training complex for the first time since undergoing ligament replacement surgery by Dr. James Andrews last week, saying Tuesday the operation went well and he is ready for rehabilitation.

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Furcal says Andrews is ``happy we did this,'' and confident the All-Star will be ready for next year. Furcal originally injured the elbow late last season. He had hoped off-season rehabilitation would prevent the need for surgery. Furcal was never able to throw at 100 percent in camp, and after a few weeks opted for surgery.

Andrews performed the surgery in his Pensacola office. Furcal plans to rehab from the surgery in South Florida.

The Cardinals also released veteran middle infielder Ronny Cedeno, a move the 30-year-old didn't see coming.

``It's a surprise,'' Cedeno said. ``It's the first time it happened to me.''

The Cardinals signed Cedeno, most recently with the New York Mets, to a one-year contract in the offseason in part as insurance in case Furcal couldn't recover. But the emergence of Matt Carpenter as a second baseman, along with solid play from shortstop Pete Kozma and utilityman Daniel Descalso, made Cedeno expendable.

Following an extremely slow start Cedeno had raised his average to .290 over the past couple weeks and said he was starting to feel good at the plate. His two errors and nine strikeouts in 31 at_bats didn't do much to help his cause, though.

``I think as we are trying to put it all together it wasn't fair to drag him on, and we gave him an opportunity to catch on with someone else,'' St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. ``It became apparent what direction we are going to go so we tried to do, one, what was best for our club and, two, what's right for our guy.''

Cedeno didn't know what his next move would be.

``I have to call my agent to figure it out, what spot is going to be good for me,'' Cedeno said.

AP NEWS
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