When third baseman David Freese got a day off Wednesday before a scheduled off day Thursday, it had nothing to do with his ankles, which both have drawn surgical attention in the last year or so.
Manager Tony La Russa wanted to give a mental break to Freese, whose average had dipped under .300 for the first time since April 11.
Freese said: "Coming into next year, I don't want people to talk about my feet and say, 'We need to do this for Freese because of his feet.' I want all of that injury stuff behind me."
Freese, hitting .298 with
nine home runs and a .354 average with men in scoring position, had surgery on
both ankles last year, but his major injury issue this year was a broken left
hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch in
He was out nearly two months, but still has started 82 games, the most he's played in three years.
The recovery from his ankle problems isn't complete and Freese still needs to quicken his first step in the field.
"To be honest, earlier in April I didn't know where I would be in September, physically," Freese said. "I feel as good or better than I hoped for.
"They told me it would take a year to be back at (full strength). I didn't believe them. Now I do."
RHP Adam Wainwright, out
for the season following Tommy John elbow surgery in February, is getting closer
to throwing a full-strength bullpen session before the end of this season. But
he will not be allowed to throw his signature curveball until next year. "The
goal is to be throwing off the mound as hard as I can throw, feeling pretty good
about my fastball and changeup," Wainwright said. He will report to Jupiter,
Manager Tony La Russa has mapped out his rotation for the rest of the season, and only the five regular starters will be involved. RHP Kyle Lohse, who was skipped nearly an entire turn before pitching six scoreless innings in beating Milwaukee on Tuesday, will get only one extra day of rest before he faces the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Monday.
RHP Eduardo Sanchez, who has had rotator cuff issues, is throwing bullpen sessions as if they were game situations, i.e., getting up and down. The rookie should be back in another week or so.
CF Jon Jay, who lagged down the stretch last year in his rookie season, is closing strongly this year. He has jumped his average 14 points in the last week to .308 on the strength of 11 hits in his last five games.
SS Tyler Greene, a Class AAA call-up who is expected to get a start this weekend against Atlanta, figures to get more starts next week in Pittsburgh, especially if the Cardinals fall out of the wild-card race, which they barely are in. Greene is 28 and the Cardinals need to find out about him for next year.
BY THE NUMBERS: 38-34 - Then Cardinals' record at home. They were 52-29 last season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I hope he gets a clue. He could be the player that he is without instigating."
- Manager Tony La Russa, on Milwaukee CF Nyjer Morgan, who has run afoul of the Cardinals again.
RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7 but had renewed soreness soon after and was shut down. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. Early in September, Sanchez began throwing bullpen sessions as if they were game situations, i.e., getting up and down. He is expected back by the middle of the month.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.