Just yesterday, the Cardinals hoped to get their rookie third baseman back by as soon as next week. Now they won’t have him back again until next season.
David Freese will undergo season-ending surgery to repair tendon damage in his right ankle, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com.
Freese re-injured the ankle during the first game of a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Monday night. According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, it is a new injury in the same area of the ankle that landed him on the disabled list in late-June.
The 27-year-old Freese was a pleasant surprise for the Redbirds this season, batting .296/.361/.404 with four homers, 12 doubles and 36 RBI over 240 at-bats. Felipe Lopez, who has been the primarily fill-in during Freese’s absence, should be the everyday third baseman moving forward. He has a .267/.341/.395 batting line to go along with six homers and 29 RBI in 281 at-bats this season. It’s worth noting that he is currently dealing with a knee injury.
Lopez is a fine utility player, which is why the Cardinals signed him, but after trading away Ryan Ludwick over the weekend, they could be starved for offense down the stretch.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.