DENVER -- The Cardinals were without Rafael Furcal again on Tuesday, the fourth straight game the starting shortstop has been held out due to lower back pain.
The pain has radiated into Furcal's upper leg, too, since it first surfaced on Friday. Furcal has not taken an at-bat since.
He did, however, resume taking batting practice on Tuesday, and Furcal participated again on Wednesday. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said a move to the 15-day disabled list is currently not under consideration for Furcal, whose status continues to be evaluated day by day.
"Today we'll try and turn up the intensity a little bit, and we'll see what we have tomorrow," Matheny said on Wednesday, before Furcal engaged in on-field work. "He seems to be getting better each day. We just need to help keep him going in a positive direction."
As Furcal is on the mend, his replacement will continue to be Daniel Descalso. Descalso has started each of the last four games at shortstop and is 4-for-13 on this road trip entering Wednesday.
Mujica joins Cardinals in Colorado
DENVER -- Admittedly caught off guard by the Marlins' decision to trade him before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Edward Mujica had much more on his mind than simply how he'd make it to Colorado to join the Cardinals.
Mujica is a new father, his daughter Brianna having been born on July 12 in Miami. That means it's not only Mujica who is making the in-season move. It's his family, too.
"It was crazy for me. But it's part of the business," Mujica said of the trade, which sent former Cardinals first-rounder Zack Cox to the Marlins. "You don't know where you're going to be tomorrow. I take it like that. My wife, I don't think she takes it like that. She was a little bit sad about that because we have everything down in Miami. But I tell her it's part of the business and we have to move forward."
Mujica becomes another sixth- and seventh-inning option for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who has had trouble finding reliable arms to cover those innings all season. Mujica pitched predominately in a late-inning role with the Marlins. The right-hander had a 4.38 ERA in 41 games.
"Wherever they want to use me, I'm going to try to do my best every night," said Mujica, who will wear No. 44. "It's my job."
Mujica's results over the next two months won't only help to determine the Cardinal's season. Those results will play a role in whether St. Louis opts to bring the 28-year-old back in 2013. Mujica will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time this winter. Having that extra year of control was one of the factors that drew the Cardinals to Mujica in their search for relief help at the Deadline.
Alex Mejia, the Cardinals' fourth-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, will miss the remainder of this season and part of next year as well after suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament when stepping awkwardly on first base on Monday. The Cardinals were initially optimistic that Mejia had been diagnosed with only a sprained knee, but found out worse news on Wednesday.
According to farm director John Vuch, Mejia is likely to be sidelined at least nine months for surgery and the subsequent recovery. Mejia was playing for short-season Batavia and hit .250 in 23 games.
Other news out of the Cardinals' Minor League system:
Though he was pushed out of the bullpen mix because of the arrival of reliever Edward Mujica, Trevor Rosenthal is tentatively set to begin his next professional challenge on Friday, when he makes his Triple-A debut.
Rosenthal made the uncommon jump to the Majors from Double-A when the Cardinals needed help in the bullpen last month. Now, he's returning to the rotation -- this time in Memphis -- as the Cardinals continue his development as a starter.
"With the mix of pitches he has, his body type, his ability to carry his philosophy late into the game, it all points to the fact that he needs to continue to be groomed as a starter," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who informed Rosenthal of the move after Tuesday's game.
Rosenthal will be on a pitch count of about 85-90 in his first start only because of his limited use over the past 2 1/2 weeks. The right-hander will take the rotation spot that had belonged to Nick Additon. Additon recently tore his meniscus and is out for the season.
Right-handed reliever Eduardo Sanchez is likely to miss the next two weeks of Triple-A action due to a strained right forearm. A variety of tests have ruled out anything more severe than a strain. Sanchez will be shut down for 7-10 days before easing himself back into mound work.
Sanchez had a 6.75 ERA in 11 July appearances. He has pitched in 17 games for the Cardinals this season.
Though they are facing at least two left-handed starters in this series, the Cardinals will start left-handed outfielder Jon Jay in all three games. Jay has hit left-handers at a solid .283 clip this season, but the biggest factor in keeping him in the lineup is the setting. With center field so spacious at Coors Field, the Cardinals value Jay's ability to cover the most ground.
With right-hander Trevor Rosenthal being optioned to Triple-A Memphis, manager Mike Matheny no longer has a defined long reliever in his bullpen. That's not the first time that has been the case this season, though, and it hardly seems of concern since the rotation has been so strong. The Cardinals had only one start last fewer than six innings in the entire month of July.
Matheny called the two-hole a "a pretty good fit" for Allen Craig on Wednesday, which was the second straight game in which Craig hit from the spot. Against left-handed starters, Craig is likely to continue to bat second, a placement that should get him ample pitches to hit given that the hot-hitting Matt Holliday is right behind him.
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.