It wasn't as flashy as the trade that brought Edwin Jackson to the St. Louis Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, but their acquisition of Rafael Furcal might have been what pushed the unlikely Wild Card victors into the NLDS; after a rough start with the Dodgers Furcal hit .255/.316/.418 with the Cardinals, popping seven home runs and replacing Ryan Theriot's shaky defense with his usual fluidity. But the Cardinals might be without their new shortstop for at least part of their postseason opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, after Furcal tweaked his hamstring in the last week of the season. Oft-injured utilityman Nick Punto could be the Cardinals' starting shortstop in the meantime.
Furcal has reported improvement in the hamstring since injuring it Monday, but the Post-Dispatch reported in the same article that John Mozeliak has conceded they'd consider the disabled list if either his or Matt Holliday's injury had occured earlier in the season.
Nick Punto, who missed much of the season with injuries of his own, could be the difference-maker for the Cardinals in Furcal's absence. A defensive force across the infield, Punto also had a weirdly excellent season on offense this year, hitting .278/.388/.421 in 166 entirely non-predictive plate appearances.