JUPITER, Fla., March 7 (UPI) -- St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal will have reconstructive elbow surgery that could keep him out of the lineup for eight months, the Cardinals said Thursday.
Furcal, 35, suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament last August and tried to recover with rest and rehabilitation. He attempted to throw during spring training but examinations this week indicated surgery was called for.
The Cardinals said the operation would be performed next week by Dr. James Andrews. While no timetable was announced for Furcal's return, the usual recovery time for this type of procedure is 6-8 months.
Furcal, a three-time All-Star, joined St. Louis in 2011 and helped the Cardinals to the World Series title. In 121 games last year he hit .2654 with five home runs and 49 runs batted in.
He is a career .281 hits with 113 home runs and 585 RBI over 13 seasons.
Chargers release LB Takeo Spikes
SAN DIEGO, March 7 (UPI) -- The San Diego Chargers Thursday released inside linebacker Takeo Spikes, a team captain for the past two years.
The 15-year veteran isn't retiring and said he hopes to find a new team this fall, U-T San Diego reported. Spikes, 36, started all 16 games for the Chargers last season with 79 tackles.
He had one year left on a three-year contract.
Releasing Spikes, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, frees $3 million in salary cap space, giving the Chargers more than $10 million in cap room as the free agency period begins next Tuesday.
"Takeo is a true professional and a class act," Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said in a statement. "We're grateful for his many contributions to the Chargers organization, both on and off the field, and wish him nothing but the best in the future."
Spikes played with the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers since entering the league in 1998.
Ex- Bears player Zorich faces tax charges
CHICAGO, March 7 (UPI) -- Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Christopher Zorich has agreed to plead guilty to federal tax charges, prosecutors said Thursday.
In a release, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago said Zorich has been charged with failing to file tax returns from 2006 to 2009 although he earned about $1 million during those four years. Through his lawyer, Zorich said he plans to enter a guilty plea and is cooperating with the Internal Revenue Service.
Zorich, a football star at Notre Dame, played with the Bears (1991-96), followed by a single season with the Washington Redskins. After he left football, he earned a law degree from Notre Dame and founded the Chris Zorich Foundation, which had the stated aim of helping disadvantaged families in the Chicago area and providing scholarships to Notre Dame.
The foundation paid Zorich $3,000 a month in rent, the IRS said, and continued to do so after its Illinois registration was canceled for failing to file forms in 2002. It also continued to receive contributions after its registration was canceled.
Collection of Ken Griffey Jr. cards stolen
WICHITA, Kan., March 7 (UPI) -- A Kansas man who began collecting Ken Griffey Jr. baseball cards when he was 11 lost the entire collection to a burglar while he was at the Fiesta Bowl.
Christopher Fevurly of Wichita told KAKE-TV Thursday he had more than 500 cards.
"This is a group of cards that I've been collecting my entire life," Fevurly said.
Fevurly said someone or a group of people broke a window using his daughter's high chair. They stole a television and computer monitor along with the collection of baseball cards.
Fevurly said a few of the cards might fetch as much as $75 but most are worth less than a dollar. But he said for him the collection was a tribute to "The Kid," who spent 22 years in the majors, playing mostly for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds. He bought the first card in 1989 when he was 11 and Griffey was in his first season with the Mariners.
"He wore his hat backward. He had the sweetest swing," Fevurly said.
Fevurly said he should have spent less time advertising his trip to Arizona to watch Kansas State on social media.
Second plane crash at Iditarod sled race
FLAT, Alaska, March 7 (UPI) -- A support plane in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race flipped during takeoff, with no injuries to its pilot and passenger, officials said.
The plane, a Cessna 185, lost altitude during takeoff from a checkpoint on the race trail Wednesday after dropping off supplies. Pilot Diana Moroney, 57, and a passenger were not injured, although the plane crashed onto the frozen Iditarod River and was "severely damaged," a statement from the Alaska State Troopers said.
It was the second plane crash involving the race this year. Monday, three people died when a Cessna 182 crashed near Rainy Pass, Alaska, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Thursday.
In the race, four-time winner Lance Mackey, 42, led at the halfway point as the competitors arrived at the ghost town of Iditarod, the newspaper said.
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