David Freese exited yesterday’s game with a broken hand thanks to a Scott Linebrink fastball and today general manager John Mozeliak announced that his return timetable is 9-12 weeks.
According to Mozeliak he’s unlikely to return until late July, which is a big blow to a Cardinals roster already decimated by injuries.
Freese was off to a strong start, hitting .356 with an .865 OPS in 25 games after putting up solid numbers as a rookie last season, and the Cardinals’ options to replace him at third base aren’t very appealing.
Daniel Descalso is getting the start there tonight, Nick Punto and Tyler Greene are light-hitting options, and Allen Craig has some third base experience in the minors if the Cardinals want to sacrifice defense to get his bat in the lineup. Albert Pujols played 1.1 innings at third base yesterday in an emergency situation, but don’t expect to see him back at the hot corner.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.