Rafael Furcal strains elbow

WASHINGTON -- St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal might return home from the team's road trip for further testing after straining his right elbow in an 8-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

Furcal was asked whether he was concerned the injury might end his season.

"Sort of," Furcal said. "It's bad."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals, at the very least, believe Furcal strained a muscle that would sideline him for four weeks, maybe more. The Cardinals (71-60), who currently own the NL's second wild card, have 31 games remaining.

Furcal left after making back-to-back throws to home and second in the sixth inning.

He said he felt a pop and then tingling on the two throws and that he will have an MRI on Friday.

"My wish is nothing crazy," said Furcal, who never had dealt with elbow problems before this game.

Furcal is hitting .264 with five home runs and 49 RBIs.

"You can't really describe it as losing a piece right now until we get all the information," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's been a phenomenal part of this team. He's had a great season."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.