The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Sunday that the team has shutdown shortstop Rafael Furcal from all baseball activity due to increasing right elbow pain.

The veteran switch-hitter had been throwing with limitations since the start of spring training, although the stress and discomfort has now forced him to stop all baseball activity indefinitely.

"He went in a bad direction," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "I don't know the severity of it, but it wasn't good news."

The 35-year-old, who decided not to have surgery on his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, which he hurt last season on Aug. 30., never reached full recovery after rest and rehab during the offseason.

With Opening Day just four weeks away, the club's uncertainty at the shortstop position is expected to be answered with either Pete Kozma or Ronny Cedeno.

Furcal, who hit .264 with five homers and 49 RBI in 121 games last season, is expected to have an MRI exam in the coming days.