As the free-agent season started to set and late January approached, utility infielder Ronny Cedeno realized that without the ideal opportunity for playing time available he’d have to make the most of the best deal offered.

With the Cardinals, if he proved he could play everywhere, at least there was a possibility he’d start for them somewhere.

“Play a couple days at shortstop. Play some second base,” Cedeno said. “I don’t know what I’m going to be right now. It’s up to me to try and show them I can be an everyday player or that I’m going to be a backup player. I need to show I’m ready for whatever situation.”

That situation continues to develop.

Cedeno started at shortstop Sunday in the Cardinals’ 5-3 loss at Roger Dean Stadium to the Boston Red Sox. Manager Mike Matheny said there will continue to be playing time available to him at his natural position while Rafael Furcal deals with elbow soreness. Furcal received an anti-inflammatory injection Friday to attack the irritation around a bone spur in his right elbow. Furcal started at designated hitter Sunday to get a couple of at-bats from the right side of the plate against Red Sox lefties Jon Lester and Andrew Miller.

Pain in his right elbow has kept Furcal from swinging the bat on the left side of the plate. The Cardinals have not offered a timetable on when the shortstop, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn ligament in his elbow, will be able to throw at full strength.

The club has taken a conservative approach with Furcal’s progress this spring, but general manager John Mozeliak said the elbow issue can be “managed” so that it does not disrupt the season. He said the club approached the season with two outcomes for Furcal: that he was “going to go or not go.” If the elbow requires recurring attention, then the Cardinals’ depth in the middle infield will be tested.