David Freese to begin minor league rehab assignment Tuesday

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The Cardinals are getting some important pieces back in the fold. Matt Holliday and Kyle McClellan both returned from the disabled list this week and it sounds like third baseman David Freese isn’t too far behind them.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Freese will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Memphis. The 28-year-old third baseman underwent surgery to repair a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch in early May.

“I’m excited to get going,” said Freese. “Obviously, we’re a couple of weeks ahead of where we thought we’d be.”

If all goes well, Freese believes he could rejoin the Cardinals sometime during their upcoming roadtrip, which begins June 28 in Baltimore and concludes July 3 in Tampa Bay.

Freese was batting .356/.394/.471 with two homers and 14 RBI over 94 plate appearances prior to the injury.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.