ST. LOUIS (AP) - Cardinals third baseman David Freese will have surgery on his broken left hand and is expected to miss nine to 12 weeks, his latest extended setback.
“We’ll make do,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s just a tough break for David. We’re going to miss him. Brutal.”
“Things happen. That’s all I can say,” Freese said. “Obviously it’s happened continuously for a couple years now, but I’m not going to look in the past. I’m going to keep going, keep plugging away.”
Craig, who can play all four corner positions, was activated before the start of a four-game series against the Florida Marlins. General manager John Mozeliak said Craig would likely have been activated in any case, but he’s down the list of potential third base fill-ins because he hasn’t gotten that much work at third.
Daniel Descalso started at third Monday night and La Russa can also use Nick Punto and Tyler Greene, although Punto was hobbled by tightness in his left hamstring after getting removed in the fourth inning Sunday. Albert Pujols played third base for the first time since 2002 after Freese’s injury on Sunday but is unlikely to see any more action there.
“Probably not something we would like to do,” Mozeliak said. “But clearly it’s always an option.”
Freese was limited to 70 games last season by injuries to both ankles, and didn’t play after June 28. He underwent surgery on the right ankle on Aug. 5 after being injured running the bases during a rehab assignment, and had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his left ankle on Sept. 8.
The Cardinals were 16-12 and in first place in the NL Central, having already absorbed 20-game winner Adam Wainwright’s elbow reconstructive surgery in spring training and a lengthy DL stay for second baseman Skip Schumaker, who’s still two to four weeks away with an elbow injury.
“This is a hard game and it’s a long season,” Mozeliak said. “To be where we are after a month, it’s a good slot.”
The Cardinals had trouble filling the void after Freese was hurt last year, fading to second place.
“Internally, we’ll just have to handle it,” Mozeliak said.
Descalso has been a plus defensively at third and though he was hitting just .226 his on-base percentage was .358 with six RBIs in 53 at-bats. He has little power and was batting seventh against the Marlins.