General manager John Mozeliak has repeatedly said that the Cardinals are comfortable going with 26-year-old prospect David Freese as their Opening Day third baseman, so he can’t be too happy with this news from the weekend:
David Freese was arrested in St. Louis County early Saturday morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Maryland Heights police confirmed Sunday. … Freese’s arrest represents the fourth known alcohol-related incident involving the franchise since March 2007. It is also the second vehicle-related incident involving Freese this year.
The Lafayette High alum suffered serious injuries to both feet last January when his car skidded off an ice-slicked road as he was en route to a charity bowling event. The incident cost Freese a chance to make the major-league club in spring training and eventually required surgery on his left foot.
Mozeliak commented that the Cardinals “are extremely disappointed upon hearing this,” but it’s tough to imagine the arrest really hurting Freese’s chance of claiming a starting job given that manager Tony La Russa was arrested for driving under the influence a couple years ago. Of course, La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager and Freese will be 27 years old in April despite not yet even establishing himself as a big leaguer. In other words Freese may want to stay off the road for a while.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.