JUPITER, Fla. -- Though the Cardinals will not rush Rafael Furcal's preparation process this spring, the club does not anticipate the shortstop having limitations because of his right elbow. Furcal's 2012 season ended in late August when he suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in that elbow.
Furcal arrived in Jupiter on Wednesday and did his first bit of work at the Cardinals' complex on Thursday. He is cleared to hit, field and throw.
"He feels like he's pretty much on program," manager Mike Matheny said. "You have to realize what you had last year. We went pretty slow with him and he came out of the box carrying us. We understand that we can put him on a program and we'll be good as long as things point in a healthy direction."
Indeed, Furcal's Grapefruit League results last year caused some concern about his health and readiness for the season. He finished with just 10 hits in 52 at-bats. It had no carryover effect, though, as Furcal produced three three-hit games in the team's first four games of the season.
How cautious the Cardinals end up being with their starting shortstop this spring will ultimately be dictated by how Furcal feels as he gradually pushes himself further.
"We'll just watch," Matheny said. "We'll be listening to the trainers and what they say. We'll listen to what Raffy says and how he feels."
After long trip, Wong excited, though not jet-lagged
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' position players -- all of whom were required to report by the end of the day on Thursday -- have been trickling into Jupiter all week. When it comes to distance traveled, though, no one has second baseman Kolten Wong beat.
Wong, who resides in Hilo, Hawaii, started his journey from Honolulu, where he had been while visiting his girlfriend. He jumped on a flight to Dallas, spent about four hours during a layover, then boarded a plane to Florida. Wong estimated that altogether the trip took 13-14 hours.
The jet lag, he joked, hadn't set in yet on Thursday, when Wong was at the Cardinals' complex getting some work in. This is the second time Wong, the club's first-round Draft pick in 2011, has been a non-roster participant in Major League camp.
"I'm excited to be back," Wong said. "When you're not in the big leagues, you see guys across from you and you get excited to be able to work out with them and see how they go about their business and how they are getting ready for the season. That's what I'm excited about."
The Cardinals' uncertainties at second base have led some to questions about whether Wong will get the chance to make a legitimate push for an Opening Day roster spot in St. Louis. Such a scenario seems unlikely for Wong, who has yet to play above Double-A, but that does not mean an impression can't be made.
And if his development continues as it has since he entered the organization, Wong could be in line for a promotion to the Majors sometime during the 2013 season.
"I always want to come in and give it my best and everything I've got," Wong said. "The second baseman job right now is in the air, but I'm not coming in to try and step on any toes. I'm just going to keep doing what I have to do to show the Cardinals that I'm ready to play and when it's my time to be called up, I'll be ready to play."
Rain forces Cards indoors to complete workout
JUPITER, Fla. -- Morning rain storms forced the Cardinals to alter their workout plans on Thursday, though it did not prevent work from being accomplished.
The 14 pitchers scheduled to throw bullpen sessions kept on schedule with some improvisation. Instead of throwing on the outdoor mounds, they did their work from the mounds in the indoor cages. The team's other pitchers waited for a break in the weather to complete their long-toss regimen outside.
"We would really have loved to have had these guys out on the mound, out in the sun throwing on a normal situation," manager Mike Matheny said. "But you just kind of have to roll with it when it comes."
With the fields too soggy for pitchers to go through fielding practice, Matheny decided to send them to the batting cages for an extended bunting exercise that lasted about 45 minutes. Before camp even started, Matheny promised that there would be a renewed emphasis on bunting.
According to weather.com, there is a 60 percent chance of rain returning on Friday. If the Cardinals can dodge that interruption, they'll be holding their first full-squad workout of the spring.
• Former manager Tony La Russa made a business visit to the Cardinals' facility on Thursday. La Russa, who is working in Major League Baseball's Commissioner's Office, and umpire supervisor Ed Rapuano met with the team's coaching staff to discuss rule changes for 2013. They were scheduled to have the same talk with the Marlins later in the day. St. Louis and Miami share a Spring Training complex.
• Ballpark Village, the district being developed across the street from Busch Stadium, has secured another tenant. The Cardinals, along with The Cordish Companies and the Professional Bull Riders, Inc., announced on Thursday that PBR St. Louis: A Cowboy Bar will be built at the site. It will become PBR's eighth location in the country.
Information released about the venue described its design as "cowboy cool meets urban chic," and the space will span 8,000 square feet. PBR St. Louis will house a large dance floor, a lounge area, multiple bars, a mechanical bull and private outdoor balconies. The venue will also host live country performances.
PBR St. Louis is scheduled to be finished by Opening Day 2014, along with the rest of phase one of Ballpark Village.
• The Cardinals still anticipate that right-hander Carlos Martinez and infielder Ronny Cedeno will be absent from workouts on Friday. Both continue to deal with visa issues in their home countries.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.