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Furcal remains out, but may rejoin lineup soon

Furcal remains out, but may rejoin lineup soon

DENVER -- Still bothered by lower back stiffness, shortstop Rafael Furcal sat again on Tuesday. It marked the third straight game Furcal remained out of the Cardinals' starting lineup.

Indications are, though, that Furcal could return soon. In addition to responding well to continued treatment, Furcal participated in batting practice with his teammates before Tuesday's game. He did not swing a bat over the weekend. Furcal also fielded some grounders at his infield position.

"It's a little better now, but it's still stiff," Furcal said before the on-field work. "I'm still feeling it a little bit, but I'm getting much better than the last few days."

The tingling sensation that ran through Furcal's leg when the pain first surfaced on Friday has gone away. But Furcal is still particularly sensitive about back injuries, given his history. Furcal underwent surgery on his back in 2008 and, after trying to play through some discomfort, landed on the disabled list with a lower back strain in 2010. That's why he alerted the team's medical staff right away this time around.

Furcal's availability off the bench on Tuesday was to be determined after batting practice.

"It's better to miss three or four games than to miss a month," Furcal said. "I'm worried because I know how hard I'm working to be healthy. I want to play. I don't want to sit down and watch the game."