A December game of catch has led to a March game of catch-up for Rafael Furcal.

During the interim between the Cardinals shortstop filing for free agency and re-signing with the club for two years, Furcal felt sharp pain on his lower right side while throwing a ball to his daughter outside his Miami home.

Within two hours Furcal's wife was driving her husband to an area hospital as he doubled over in the passenger side of their vehicle. Doctors administered something to address Furcal's pain and immediately scheduled him for an emergency appendectomy.

"There was no time to wait," Furcal said after Sunday's rain-abbreviated workout at Roger Dean Stadium. "If they had waited much longer it would have ..."

Furcal opened two fists in the unmistakable gesture of something exploding. A ruptured appendix would have allowed infection to spread throughout his lower abdomen. Surgery prevented the condition from worsening but didn't preclude him from having to alter his offseason conditioning for about a month. No heavy lifting. And for the remainder of December, no swinging a bat.